Create a culture of Dream Achieving for your team by helping them see how they can achieve what’s most important to them by performing successfully in your company.
Create a culture of Dream Achieving for your team by helping them see how they can achieve what’s most important to them by performing successfully in your company.
Dane Espegard is a culture consultant who teaches, assists and executes the implementation of a Culture centered around Dream Achieving.
The system is bottom-up and puts the emphasis on the development and personal lives of the team member.
Dane works with companies in a very simple manner to get the culture started and leaves them with some very easy to implement steps.
Dane brings a successful people-oriented method to market in his latest book, The Dream Machine.
CONNECT WITH DANE & HIS WORK
There's a lot of people that believe, well, I want to change things. I don't want to lose my people and my believe that everybody that's on my team is temporary. I'm temporary. I've been at the business for 19 years. I'm still temporary. My wife is temporarily my wife. So I have to keep dating her to make sure that she stays my wife, right? These are the beliefs that I have. Not everybody's going to sign up for that. But my point is, it's like I want to make sure that I'm constantly courting the people on my team, and if they ever get complacent, I'm nervous that they're going to look for something else that's more exciting.
Welcome, everybody. Today, I'm excited to have Dan Espegard with us to talk about the dream system and the work he's doing is really powerful in bringing together teams, employees and connecting them in a way that at least in my experience, is something that's so necessary. Thank you so much for joining us today. Dan.
Happy to be here. Excited to have the conversation.
Thank you. Dan is a culture consultant who teaches, assists, and executes the implementation of a cultured center around dream achieving. He's going to tell you what that is shortly. The system is a bottom up approach that puts the emphasis on the development of personal lives of team members. He brings the success oriented method to his latest book, The Dream Machine. And Dan, if you just go in to tell us a little bit about what is, first of all, a dream system just from an overview and what got you involved with this work?
Yeah. So Dream system overview is basically where each individual within an organization within a team is working towards their own goals, outcomes in their own menu, if you will of things throughout their life. And there's a lot of different categories that we help people build that through. But what that does is it helps that individual to have purpose on a daily basis. And I think that one of the challenges when it comes to operating a team is trying to make sure that our individuals on that team actually have perfect to their day, and they're not just disengage to sleep at the wheel, showing up and not really doing the things that are going to drive their role.
And so what I found with this is that when individuals, the purpose doesn't necessarily need to be at the workplace. If somebody is just purpose driven in general, it's impossible for them to then show up and be a completely different version of them at work. And so it's almost that we're flipping the table a little bit and trying to dive into that individual and say, what are the things that would light you up in life? What are the things that you want to experience to do?
And then if we can at least start that conversation, keep that engaged. What happens is work, then, is the vehicle for somebody to be able to get there. But it's not necessarily about work. So that's the overview of or explaining it from why it works type of system. So how we got into it? I had started now three different organizations, kind of all under the same banner, like same company, but three different franchises, different teams, if you will. So starting from scratch, first time I did it, I was right out of College, didn't necessarily know what I was doing.
I noticed some great things that happen and not so hot things that happened with our culture. Second time I did it. In 2009, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, from Wisconsin, started the team there. We grew faster, quick to a higher amount in a smaller period of time, and then had the opportunity four years later to do another move. And I knew at that time that was probably going to be the last move for me at that company. And so I really wanted to make sure that the culture was right.
And so I went back through all my old stuff of and pop back on the book. The Dream manager from Matthew Kelly and Matthew took our company through a dream Dreams list in 2007. So this would have been five years prior, and I remember getting a lot of energy from it, but it kind of died out for me. So that was the cold try I wanted to land on 2013. I instituted it within my organization. We've kind of evolved that program now, since eight, nine years later, we're kind of in.
I call it the three0 version of what that initial thing was. And it's been extremely powerful for our organization. And a lot of teams within our company nationwide have started dolls to implement the same thing.
That's awesome. I find a lot of times when I work with small business owners or business owners in general or supervisors. There's this conversation around. Why don't they just do their work? And of course, you can already hear just from the languaging they it's it's a vague conversation, which is not the greatest place to start, but it just to me suggest this idea that you're just supposed to sort of suck it up, take it and deal with it. And a lot of it, I think, has its roots in years ago, when also there was this apprehension about going into the details of a person's personal life.
It was very much about no, my personal life, my personal life. You don't talk to me about anything. And yet if we don't know what's really important to people, it can be difficult to connect with them. Keep explaining a little bit for the person that's listing and says, okay, I'm willing to do this. I really care about my employees. I want to do something. But even if you look at the things, whether it's I don't know, harassment or just different things or there seems to be a lot of political freshness and things right now.
So sometimes I'd rather just not know what's going on in your life. You do, you outside, and then we'll do work inside. What is the vibe like for this? What does it feel like for the employee in general, when they find out that, yes, the employer is looking to know a little bit more about what their motivations are, what's important to them and how they can connect those with the work they do day in and day out.
Yeah. I think that's a really big question. And I think part of it comes back to what somebody's belief is when I look at teams in the way that they open right now, you know, what you're describing, I totally agree with, I think is kind of the past, right. And there's still a lot of organizations that hold on to that, which is you have a work life, and we expect you to show up and perform and you have a home life, and we expect those to be separate.
I still remember Matthew Kelly talking us in 2007 about you don't have a work life in a whole life. You have one life. And I think that I think it was true in 2007. I think it's even more true now. Those lines are I don't think it's fair to say blurred. I think it's gone. And maybe that is the problems of social media where you can see very quickly, not everything but a lot about somebody's life that they're willing to show just like that and a desire for today's workers they want to be cared about.
They want to feel valued. And when there's zero conversation about any value that they have in their life other than what they provided this business, we're missing a huge part of that person. So when you know, when you started off asking the question and saying they right, and you made a point to really use that as a distinction. What this dream thing does, it doesn't work unless the leader, the organizations also participate. Right. So I knew that when I started this, I was like, hey, I'm I'm a firm believer in lead by example and live life out loud.
And so for me, I said, Well, if I'm going to do this, I have to be all in on the dreams concept. So my then girlfriend at the time we're not married, we went through and really Dove into our dreams list. And that first year, all I did was just help people make a dreams list. It's a fun activity. Nobody's like, oh, that's a waste of time. They enjoy it. And then that year, I just committed to living out loud. So every time my wife and my girlfriend and I at that time would accomplish a dream, we talk about it, which first took a lot because I'm like, Well, I don't want to talk about this vacation that I'm taking with this extra flexibility that I have because I'm the boss, or I earn a little more.
Or that was kind of a muddy waters that I maybe didn't want to go through in the past. And I just said, Well, hey, if I want this to stick, I have to share that. And so I would share publicly and say, hey, Brooklyn and I are doing something on our dreams list this weekend. Here's what we're doing. And what I found is that what that did was encourage other people to continue to pursue things on their dream. It wasn't me, boasting. It was me living by example and saying, hey, you should do the same.
I got zero blow back from people saying, oh, he's look at these flaunting X, Y or Z. But when I when it started to develop, what I saw happen is that the relationships were so different in the organization, what they had previously been conversations weren't, hey, How's the weekend? How's the family like the very generic surface level conversation. But it was, hey, did you have that race this weekend that you've been training for? Right? Like, it's very targeted. You know, I did this workshop, and this is somewhat of a tangent, but I did one of the workshops that I do for Amber company, the individual that introduced us at no Guts, no glory.
And I took her team do this in May. And I've never taken a team through this and not been inspired by the individuals. And I think that's such a cool thing because it's a business owner, a leader, a team leader, the people that we work around, it's just kind of like, oh, it's Sally. I've worked with them for five years or whatever the case is. And when you do this, part of the process is people make their dreams list, and then there's the sharing and stealing that happens.
It's a fun part of it. But I was popping in and out of the virtual rooms with the small teams, and Amber and I was messaging to her in the middle. And I said, Your team is amazing. And that's how I feel every time I talk to anybody about this is because you get to see on the inside of somebody of, like, what their dreams have been, that maybe they squelched down and said, not today or the places they want to travel. I was hearing, and I circled back with Amber.
Somebody on her team said, I want to swim with Sharks. And Amber said she did that this summer. Somebody else said, I want to take burlesque lessons. And I was like, That's a little different. But she's sharing this on the team when she shares it, somebody else on the team says, hey, that's kind of weird. My cousin happens to be the top burlesque trainer or dance whatever in Denver where you live. And so that person is now taking. So it's just the bonds that happen are no longer.
Oh, we're just on this project together at work. And I think that's where the magic is with this stuff in terms of, like, team unity.
That's so awesome. I work in the insurance industry. A lot of my clients are there, and that's a field that is very it can become stagnant or stale because the business model is pretty steady. It's kind of like banking. There's not a lot of excitement to it. It's not meant to be exciting. It's a stabilizing field. That's the whole idea. And so what you run into sometimes is some of the most talented people leave very quickly when I say quickly, three years, five years, or they become the business owners.
But then it's almost like they can't wait to get out of the employees chair to become a business owner. There's a small percentage, maybe not a small percent. But there's a certain percentage that simply like the stability and the steadiness. And so they stick. But it's rare that you find this light or this passion with them. They like the field. They're competent, what they do, they're proud of what they do. And it's good work. But there's not that extra sense of, like, hey, this is awesome.
There's not that extra passion. And this is a field where when it's done right, you're doing really good work for people. You're helping people with their finances. You're protected. But it's not like you're doing something that other people would say. Well, the field in and of itself has no sold to it. We certainly can be done in a Weir way, and it can be done in a minute ways with any field. But when it's done right, it's a very empowering field. But there's still kind of this.
Okay, I just go to work kind of feeling. And and then there's also the business owner that says, okay, well, hold on. Wait. I don't want to mess dating stuffs working. So you're going to start talking about feelings and stuff. I'm thinking about a stereotypic guy, too. You're going to start talking about feelings. And I don't know what what's the downside of not doing this and what's the and even maybe we're some of the dangers of doing this that you might say, hey, wait. Sometimes it doesn't work out.
And what's that upside? So what's the person missing out on if they're not willing to take this risk?
Yeah, that's a great question. I think the downside without getting too, like, doom and gloom and fear base. But I think that the downside. It's like what we see right now with the pandemic and everything else. It's like that to me is the downside of somebody not dreaming. I look at my team through the pandemic, and I'm going to direct sales organization. I've worked under the Cutco banner for 19 years, Cutco Cutlery, and there's so many similarities between the insurance world and just Cutco and direct sales and and so the turnover is real.
And all of that, we thrive during the pandemic, my specific organization, and we had the best numbers that we've ever had before. And I really believe that the dream concept, I got to see it in its full form during the pandemic. And what I mean by that is when everybody else was living in the most uncertain times that we've ever lived in, right? With the most isolation that we've ever had, which are two horrible things for human individual. My team was thriving, and I think that the connections were so deep, it didn't matter if we were next to somebody or if it was online, right, because we understood that individual on a deeper level.
And then on top of that, we had this huge menu that we were in control of. And when I say each individual has their own, that's their dreams list. So I called a part of our network or part of the way that we distribute and sell our product is through fares and shows, events. Well, that team, those are some of our biggest producers. They got crushed during the pandemic because everything got canceled. So they're face to face. And so they're used to earning a couple $100,000 a year.
And it's just like the rug was taken out from under, right? We didn't have residuals and the same stuff that are in other industry. And I called one of my leaders. It was kind of like a mental health check. I'm like, hey, man, how are you holding up? And it was two months into and he goes on a song, great, because I've had way more time to get stuff done. He was like, I'm close to hitting my dream for a number of rounds golf on this summer.
I just finished a dream on my list of flossing for 30 days straight. And I was like, Wait, that's under trees lift. And he said, yeah, that's one of the things they can be small and big. But the point was, hey, work was kind of on hold for him, but he had still so much purpose that he could go to that he was in control of. And so when I think of the negative of not doing this, it's actually kind of what you described as somebody being in their role for five to ten years where they're just kind of like, Well, business is good, but they're not alive.
And that's the difference. And I think that you lose your top talent when that's the case. Top talent doesn't stick around to just kind of like, sit and things are fine. And top talent in solution, finders and innovators those people that is toxic to them. So it doesn't feel toxic because it wouldn't be described as a toxic workplace, but is toxic in the form of that person isn't going and growing and moving on a regular basis. And there's a lot of people that believe, well, and I want to change things.
I don't want to lose my people. And my belief is everybody that's on my team's temporary. I'm temporary. I've been at the business for 19 years. I'm still temporary. My wife is temporarily my wife. So I have to keep dating her to make sure that she stays my wife, right? These are the beliefs that I have. Not everybody's going to sign up for that. But my point is, it's like I want to make sure that I'm constantly courting the people on my team. And if they ever get complacent, I'm nervous that they're going to look for something else that's more exciting.
So selling knives that we do that's weird. That's not exciting, right? Like, nobody's like, yes, you know what? I've got a dream some day of selling that. That's not I've never had that. If somebody told me that, it's a little weird, I got to wonder about you. And so it's not that it's that they're living the life of their dreams outside of work and them accomplishing certain goals here, allows and enables that. And I think that kind of answers both the downside and the upside.
That's awesome. One of the things I find, too, that has happened. And I think this one is not just an age based difference. It's a shift in culture. So in the insurance agency industry, you have people that are making solid incomes that are steady income if they're good at their job. Now, if you search average income of an insurance agent, it's nothing spectacular because in any other field all over the place, and you have people that the old model 30 years ago was the owner and a secretarial type position.
And that's not to knock the Secretary. In other words, it was clearly it was the dentist administrator. There was no hygienist in between. There was nothing in between. It was either like doctor level or first level. And so the incomes were there's a bigger disparity in the incomes accordingly. So because of the talent level and what they were doing. And so now you have I'm sorry. And so back then, you had more of the sense of like you said, not wanting to brag, not wanting to say, Well, I'm going here.
I'm doing this. I know with my three day weekend podcast, I try to be like, Guess what I'm at the beach you got on Friday. What's up? Because there is a certain point you're like, okay, wait. You're at the beach. We got it. And you don't want to be that person. And yet when I look at, for example, my brother's insurance agency, he does a really good job of inspiring his team members. He lives at an abundant level. And I remember him telling me once he's like, Wait, look, I've had a couple of my team members say to me, don't you dare, like, try to hide this because we want to be where you are or do what you're doing in a similar level.
We don't want to be you. You're not that big of a deal, but we see your success and we want to be where you're at. So you doing that in a way, because in his organization, it's possible that people can do that. So again, I think that's what shifted is because now when you add that years later in so many fields that in between position where the person can then say, okay, I could now be that dental hygienist ish type position. And then maybe later I could be that hard position.
Or maybe I don't need to maybe I could still earn, I don't know, in the US, you know, an $80 to $100,000 job where it used to be is like either six figures plus 25,000 a year. And there is no one between. And so what I see is just what you said. If the really talented people aren't engaged, the ones that want to make 50, then 60, then 70, then 80, and they want to see it grow. Not just because 3% inflation, they want to see growth that you really are being putting yourself in a dangerous position.
Share a little bit more if you don't mind about the mechanics of what it looks like. And then I'd love you to also share with and sometimes ask two questions. Once I'm still growing as an interviewer, they still courting your employees because I've learned that as a husband, that yes, that's according to my wife, it's very important, not just in the sense of, hey, everybody stay away from my wife because I don't have those concerns with her because her character, but because that's what I want.
I want a relationship that's like that. So, yeah, a little bit about the process. And then what that looks like because, of course, we're not actually, according to try to date our employees. That would be really a whole different conversation. That's a different episode. That's not this episode. But what does that look like?
Wade, my book is totally a tangent. My book is called The Dream Machine and a Buddy of Mine yesterday. Yes, we're recording this on the 29th, but yesterday was launch day, and somebody did a search and there's a book called Dream Machine, and there's some guy with his shirt off just ripped. And he's like, Is this your book that I find in that is not stay away from that.
Oh, that's right.
So the answer your question in the Pilon, just something that you said before. I truly believe in. The quote progresses happiness. And so what you said with 50, then 60 and 60 and 70 that I heard that quote, Progress is happiness from Tony Robbins. I think somebody else reference it to Oprah. It's like, everything right. Everybody said at least once. So with that, I think that my job as an employer, my job as a boss, as a mentor, as a leader is to make sure that my people are progressing.
And I think the go to from a business standpoint is the financially progressing. It doesn't need to be that. And I think that's where people get hung up here. It's like, well, if they don't keep earning more, they're going to leave. That's not true, because they talk. They talk to their friends, to their family, and they know when they have something that's special in the culture and the leader that they work with. And if there's a I don't know if this number is accurate anymore, but there is some study in the US that showed, like once somebody hits $75,000 in income and the number is probably a little higher now, it's like a five K bump doesn't get the same impact that it used to right here.
Once we reach this kind of level of what we feel secure, the ten gram bonus isn't necessarily going to get that same pop as the employer may be spending two grand to send them on a dream vacation. Right. Or something that's on that person's list. So that's something I think is important, which I'll circle back to in terms of how, as the leader of the organization, you utilize somebody's dreams list, but the inner workings how this works. There's got to be some sort of a setup where everybody builds their dreams list.
Right. So we do that. That's what I do is run. I used to just do this at my company, but we call it a dream retreat. We do it like a two day, one night kind of hanging out, no business talk type of deal. I've also done it for smaller teams within my team, where it's like my five liters and their spouses. And then I did it. I've done them virtually. So there's a lot of different methods that we can do it. But that process that we go through three stages.
One is called dream storming, which is just the brainstorming action. Right. And so that's where somebody I take them through nine categories, and it's just go, go, go. We put them in an abundant state as they get into that. And Amber's team, the average person had about 300. Right. And so they build this massive list people of all ages, too. So this isn't like, you know, kids obviously are known to dream well. But everybody's got things that they're excited about to make this big list. And even if somebody just did that, that's huge.
And that starts a conversation. It gets people get things on your radar. Then we split and we do little small groups, and we do what's called dream sharing and stealing. And so this is where the bonds really happen, the dream storing things more of an independent everybody kind of working on their list through a bunch of prompting. And then we can randomize. We put people into teams based on who they work with, whatever. And then what they do is they select from every category, and they basically will end up sharing about 30 to 50 dreams that are on each of their list.
And he's like, It's not things that they're committing to. It could be funny ones. It could be fun ones. It could be things that are low hanging fruit, whatever. But as they're doing this, they're learning a lot about people they're like, there's a whole lot of if you were to watch people's body language of just connection happening. What they're also instructed to do is steel and steel with pride. So it's when somebody says something like, I want to go to Michelin Star restaurant. If somebody else like that, it's not, you know, they give, like, a little oh, right.
And they write it down on theirs. So people are getting more on their list. I want them to get as many as possible because I want this massive menu. The third step that we do is that we give the time and space and instruction on how to do some research. So we actually allow them in this motivated state, not allowed, but encourage them in this motivated state to take action on it. Right. So, hey, look at your list and let's try and find maybe ten to 15 that could potentially be in the cards for the next twelve months.
And then why don't you start doing some research? And in my experience, when we start to research things, we find out things are easier and cheaper than what we had in our head. And so people start doing research. They're calling friends. Hey, I'm looking at this concert. Would you want to go to this? Hey, mom, dad, I was thinking about coming to visit. So there's all sorts of activity that's going on. And it's so exciting to just see people taking action on things that they wanted to do for a while.
They just haven't ever given themselves the space to do it. We get busy. We have kids, we have jobs, we have homes. And when do we give ourselves the space and for work to be the vehicle to say, hey, here's 5 hours or here's two days. We're not going to work. We're going to work on you that says such a strong message to that person of you matter. So that's the set up. And even if somebody just did that did nothing else, what you'd find as a business leader is every so often somebody to say, hey, Wade, I just want you to know, not that you asked, but we just took the family on a weekend trip up north, and it was on our dreams list.
I just want to say, thanks. It was really cool. So that type of stuff starts happening. So then we teach the business owners how to do what's called dream spotlighting. And that's basically where when you get that, you kind of spread that back out. And that's a friendly nudge to everybody else. So this isn't meant to be an obligatory thing, right? It's meant to be. I should go back to that list, and then I always the last thing. I'm talking a lot here, but the last thing that we do is I always ask invitation, not obligation.
I say, Wade, I would love to get a copy of your dreams list. This is absolutely not an obligation. You can keep that thing to yourself, but I would love to have the opportunity to show your appreciation, whether it's birthday or just randomly or whatever. And instead of giving you, like, the generic thing that I've done for five years, I would love to actually spend money on you. That's going to make a difference and maybe help you accomplish some of your dreams if they give you that.
In my mind, I'm like game over my gifts for people on my team. I'm not shopping on Amazon. I'm just going through their dreams list. If somebody tells me they're going on the trip, I'll look to see if there's something on their dream list on that trip, and it might be $100 excursion or they said they want to go parasailing. I think that they're going to beach. There's going to be parsing somewhere. Let me look it up and see if I can pay for that a health category I love when I have people on my list that say, I want to do a tough Mudder half marathon, whatever.
I will go or I'll have my administrative assistant go and find those in our area in the next nine months. And then we'll go to those people and say, hey, I saw on your list you had a tough Mudder. There's one coming here in July. Would you, if you're interested in actually doing that, we'll pay your interest fee. Why not all of it. I want them to have some skin in the game, but that's like, $50 to now have somebody who's concerned about their health. For six months, I would pay a lot more.
They're going to bring a lot of energy to work when they're working out a regular basis, watching their diet. So they're just sorry, I go off on a lot with these because I get really excited about it.
That's what we want. So there's so much to that. I think that's awesome. Number one, the team is seeing that you care. And I think that's one of the biggest things I know when I used to have workshops and I started the business owners come to my workshops in Florida, which there was like, Wait, give me an excuse to come to Florida. Great. Okay. That's easy.
But then I'd have some of them. I remember when I first started doing workshops for the employees and a lot of them said, Now, Wade, I wouldn't send my person. But then I noticed a trend in when I held one and basically just said, okay, hey, look, I'm having it in Florida. I've got some local business owners are going to do it anyway with their employees are going to come. But I extended the invitation to some of my other agency owners around the country, and some of the best ones in their field send their people.
And so I was like, okay, I'm curious. Now what do you know that the other person doesn't know? And one of them just said it this simply. And when I verbalize, the other said pretty much the same thing. Like, look, wait, I only have a few opportunities to really show my team member that again, something more than just money, something that's unique, that's memorable that says, I really value you and the team members. The employees would say, Wait, wait. You're going to send me and pay for me to fly somewhere.
And again, not that you have to send somebody more. But the whole thing was it wasn't the money because again, if you understand an employee turnover, the workshop I had, I think it was, I don't know, $1500 or so maybe. Lets say it's $2500 for the person to be sent. Employee turnover cost you at least one and a half to two times a team members salary every month. Saas far as you know, at least let's say three months to replace them. So the cost, if you even remotely get the math, the costs are you are so huge.
And for those people that don't get it, just think about that feeling you get in your gut when you just lost somebody who's awesome that's feeling you ten years and you have to try to replace them. The feeling in that gut is because your gut understands the math. You might not even understand that. You got to understand the math. It understands the money, it understands the time, the frustration and even worse, that feeling like, Wait, wait, let me get this straight. I've just been working for the last six years to get to this level, and I just lost one of my main people.
So I'm going to live the next few years just to get back there like that. To me, that's such a pain point.
And it's not even money. So when you look at, okay, well, how could I perhaps not even avoid this, but how could I work with this? How could I make this different? I would be so huge and funny tie and I talked about in the printer view. So when I did the strategic coach program and Dan Selvin did such awesome work, I got to meet Mary Miller. Mary Miller was my coach and Mary Miller's company. Jen COA and her and her husband's company in Cincinnati is one of the main examples in Matthew Kelly's book, The Dream Manager.
And I remember her talking about the shift in turnover, and their company is a commercial cleaning company. So he said, look, we're dealing with people that for the most part, don't have College education. It doesn't mean they're not intelligent people, simply, they've not gotten access. And the turnover was crazy. And I remember her sharing what it meant for the turnover, what it meant for, in their case, very often there are some common themes, like, okay, we want to buy a house and then helping them do that.
What does that look like? What are some of the common themes that you see that maybe people don't tap into? And why is that so much more valuable than just here have some money.
So I don't think that we remember maybe the first bonus that we were given. Right. But like you, I've been in the same industry for a long time. It's like, I don't remember all the bonuses. I remember all the trips. I remember the great dinners. I remember the things that were very targeted of like, hey, we're going to do this for you. I remember when the CEO flew me out to a warriors game in San Francisco. Right. Those things I remember and they could have given me that money and multiply it by two or three.
I would have been, hey, that's cool. My company is cool. But it wouldn't have been that an opportunity for me to get very invested into by somebody. Right. So the relationship strengthen. And, you know, we don't leave companies, we leave leaders. And when I think about you look at the population, it's like how many people are in a job right now because that's their passion hardly any. And I think that's okay. I think that there's this massive struggle for students. And I work a lot with 18 to 22 years.
And there's this true, this pressure that's put on that like, you got to find your major, and then you got find what you're passionate about. It like, you don't know what you're passionate about it. Well, I was passionate 21 about drinking beer. But that doesn't mean that that's what my career should be post College. And so what this concept does? It allows people to be happy and fulfilled wherever they're at, because their life is about pursuing more an abundance, an excitement in work is a vehicle of it.
And that's really that, to me, is exciting. It's like there doesn't have to be this pressure of bounce around from company to comfort to figure out which one. It's not necessarily that. And I think when I love them on my team, you talk about the dream manager. Some of the things with their workforce was like the buying of a house, a lot of it. At first they thought it was transportation, but that was the issue for turnover. And because a lot of them didn't have cars.
And it wasn't that it was. Hey, look, if I'm investing in something, I'll figure it out. We always do. And so what are the things? So finances and health are really big one that I feel like the average person takes it for granted. And what do I mean by finances? Well, we just kind of do what we think we're supposed to do based on what maybe somebody else did. So what do we do financially? We put money into our company's IRA program and the matching program, and maybe that's it.
And I just kind of do this. But how often is somebody actually self educating? How often is somebody looking at? Well, what would it look like for me to buy property, not a single family home for myself? But what would it look like for me to maybe become a real estate investor on the side? And what I have found is that when I'm teaching people about finances, it doesn't get them to want to leave. It gets them to want to thrive more here so that they can invest more there.
And if somebody ends up leaving my team because they are now, they're financially independent. I'm not disappointed on that. And by the way, I guarantee that they were open with me during their departure. So it wasn't a surprise. It was I'm working with this person to get to that level so they can leave. That is plenty of time for me to bring somebody up and who doesn't want to be next in line for that role. If that was the departure, you know, I think about in organizations, how often are we somebody leaves.
And it's kind of like, let's not talk about John anymore, right? Like, why do you leave? Just don't worry about it, John. Just like he's going to pursue some different things as opposed to hey, let's talk about why John left the last seven years. I've been working with John and his financial security, and he's been investing, and he's been working on building this portfolio. And he's now comfortable at a place that he never has to work for anybody again. So I love that John is going to come back to our next whatever.
And now I've got the biggest advocate of what we do. Other people want that somebody on my team just turned 21 in February, and he just bought his second property early September. And so I have young people in my organization that are doing this. And I used to be fearful that they're going to leave. And I'm like, they are going to leave. I might as well, you know, everybody's going to leave. So I might as well do everything I can to get them engaged while they're here.
And then the health one. You know, what's the average American. It's like we're in our best shape on our wedding day.
And then I kind of like dwindle down because we no longer have this exciting date that we can see clearly and there's just no purpose behind it. So I think that if work is talking about just all parts of you, how are you doing? Physically are feeling good, not getting a great shape. But it's like, hey, how are you feeling? How about your emotional health? Like, are you going to Church if that's important to you? And there's so much more than them doing their job?
Yeah. I think there's a few things I always heard that quote.
It'S better to have great team members and have them leave after a while and have not so great team members and have them SaaS.
I think that's so simple if you get that. And if you've experienced that, because that is certainly the case. If you're not careful, if you're stagnating that's what will happen. Wade will kind of find its level share a little bit more about everyone on your team being temporary. I think you kind of touched that already, but I think that's the thing that I think I've heard some people speak sometimes in a way and not intentionally or not. They weren't trying to be mean or talk down to people, but they almost talk with this assumption that their team members would leave when they were ready for the team members.
Like, the only option was I'm going to fire them as opposed to they might move on. How does that help you approach them? And how do they respond when they realize that you realize that they might not be there forever if they're not treated well?
I think that I think I used to choose this belief, and I think now it's required. And what I mean is I look at our labor shortage. Anybody who's on any of your listeners teams right now could go online, fill anything out and get five interviews just like that. So this used to be a belief. And now it is true that it's just like they have they could go get a pay bump, probably somewhere else if they really wanted to, they have to switch companies in yada, yada.
But that is something that is so real right now. The other part of that that makes it even more real is the whole remote nature. So before you know, I live in the Twin Cities, a company here in the Twin Cities had to compete with Twin Cities companies for talent. And if somebody's got kids, they don't really want to uproot their family, move States away. Now, somebody Minneapolis can get a job in California and not move, maybe fly there once every couple. And it's just it's so different.
So we need to up our game when it comes to the individuals that are on our team. And so when I think of the way that this actually, this belief allows me to expect more from somebody, I probably I want to say once a week, if not, it's not once a week. It's once every other week. There's a conversation where I say to somebody, hey, Wade, like, I want you to be here. But if you don't want to be here, this isn't right for you. If you're not getting challenged by this, I want you to go somewhere else, like, I want people on our team that are challenged regularly because that's in line with living life of your dreams.
So if you're not challenged and you just kind of like sitting around regressing like that's not that's not what we do here. So I need you to step up a little bit more in your role because I just don't see you're not coming to work, you know, thriving and challenged. And it's because of how you're looking at X, Y or Z. This whole everybody is temporary. I treat my people great. It also allows me to then operate with my people in a place of abundance in that scarcity of life.
Please dont leave. Please don't live. Please don't leave. I don't want to have a tough conversation because you might leave. I get to operate from a place of, you know, it's so much more free. And the conversations are so much better for that person because they're accountable conversations of, hey, is everything okay at home? You don't need to get any details, but it seems like you're not showing upgrade, right? Is there anything that we can do here? But I need you thrive in here.
Yeah, I think that's so huge. And I've had this conversation with the idea of sometimes as the owner, there can be this fear of firing people because it feels mean. And my experience is what feels mean if you're not doing your best to create an awesome environment for them, and it's not going to be an indictment when you're creating an awesome environment. And I think of our recruiting process. It's very clear here's what's awesome about working here. Here's what we'll fire you at two weeks because we're creating such this.
We're doing everything we can that we owe it to our customers and to the rest of our team to not bring on average or low commitment people. So we're doing everything we want. We can to be better. We're asking for feedback. We're looking to be better. And we're even going to tell you, look to your point about people job hopping and switch, which I think of the interviews I've had in the last six months, and I've said to people, look, you can go somewhere else and get 5000 more in this.
But you're not going to get Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam of other things that are either experiences or the way we educate, the way we train, the way we develop the environment, we have intangibles. Some people might call them. And I just think of that idea of, look, if you're happy at your job, please don't come to us if I want somebody that's like, no, this is going to be like, 20 times better because 85% you're like, well, I'm gonna try to get to 90, but if not, it's like, no, I don't want you to risk your job.
You might have bills. You might have a family to pay and all that stuff. I want that person that is like, wow, this is so much different. This is so much better. That level of passion. If somebody that says, yes, I want to spend the rest of my life with somebody in a marriage, I want to spend the rest of my life working with this company. And of course, it might not be that, but at least want there to be that level of excitement about it.
So the other thing that comes up, which I may run into is the time investment, because, of course, small business owners, employers, supervisors, whatever the role, the time is an issue. What are the few different ways or how many different ways can it look like whether it's okay, they're going to read the book and we're going to do it. It so low or how you help people, how can that look? And what is usually a time investment to get this launching and what's the maintenance or the check in on it looks like.
So the beauty of this whole thing, and when I set it up, this is something that was important to me is that it was a low maintenance system. So this wasn't I didn't want some just massive thing that I was going to need to spend 20 hours a week on. So it's a very low maintenance thing. So let me real quickly on that last point of firing someone I never want to fire. So whenever this is my belief, if we're going to fire someone, they should see that coming for months.
And I just had somebody who's worked with me for eight years, and he and his wife had his first kid. They had a lot of life things to happen in the last year and a half, and it's really rocked him. He's in a good, fine place mentally, but it's so hard for him to focus. And so for the last year that we've had conversations of, hey, I don't I want you here, but I want you here thriving. And you're not. And I don't see you becoming a better husband.
And dad, if this is how you're showing up at work. So that came to a head this summer. And I said he was in a great territory for us in Demoine, right? He had the whole great territory. And so I said, the summer, I said, look, we've been together for eight years. This is what's needed. I need you to make a decision that you're either going to step up or I need you to quit. We worked together for eight years. You cannot make me fire you.
It needs to be you're going to quit because it's the right move, or you're going to reinvest and say, you're going to talk to your wife. You're going to say this is right. I need to do this any quit. And it was a lot of thought that went into it. But it was such a great departure, if that makes sense. And it was great for every party involved. And I think that if I can have that, I'm not afraid of those conversations, if that's how somebody leaves.
Right. Okay. So time time invested once somebody makes the list. Right. So on the front end, let's say that. Well, actually, if we back it up one more step. I think the leader needs to go through and make their own dreams list prior to the event. I think I think that helps. So whether that means that they go through the October 16 thing that I'm doing for book sales type thing. But they make their own list. I've also done it where they haven't, like Amber, who participated with her team.
And I work right there's got to be this initial call, retreat or workshop. It's all hands on deck. Everybody's going to do it. That can be a five hour investment. I would just say one day or two days beyond that, everything else is really organic from the individuals. And so what I tell leaders, we have a little integration system, but I tell leaders it's like they're a little snap on things. Where it's hey, Wade, in your calendar on if you've got your weekly staff meeting on Tuesday on Monday, a little thing goes off into your calendar that says dreams question Mark.
And that's just for you to recognize. Oh, do we have anybody who recently accomplished some dreams?
I'm going to put it on the opening comments of our agenda tomorrow. Right. But those little moments are what keeps the kind of the fire going. And then most companies, what they'll do is they'll either do a quarterly or semi annually check in that are centered around dreams, and it doesn't need to be the same 5 hours to two days. It can be an hour at the end of a staff meeting that's extended. Or it can be a cool, like corporate or team dinner and extra outing type of thing.
So this is I'd say, a day, two days on the front end, and then it's five minutes here and there. And then there's the quarterly or semi annually hour to three hour additional thing. We also we're developing right now. It's pretty cool. Some other infrastructure, if you will, that's going to be able to be used for organizations to track all the dream stuff in the dream list.
That's awesome. I think that's so many things as we start things. And then I think the tracking part will be huge then because of course not being able to letting things drop. Then even people thinking they focused on when Johnny hit their goal. But they go tell it when Susie hit her goal or whatever it is. I think definitely. I love your idea or your idea. You're understanding that the leader has to do it in some way, because if you don't lead by the example, then it still is kind of like, well, this is good for you guys, but either wait, do you have no dreams or your dreams?
Are you so much above where I'm living that you're so involved? You know what? I hit all these already. You guys hit your dreams. Now I'm here. So I think that's critical. One of the things I just find that I would imagine this helps with curious to your thoughts is many of the business owners I meet that have met their objectives. They've gone beyond what they thought they were going to do.
Lot of them have a hard time doing the mentoring thing, and I've got a couple of hypotheses, but I can't prove them. I think some of it maybe that maybe they're intimidated that things have changed so much that maybe they won't be relevant anymore. I say, well, hey, you're supposed to be the Meno, and then you come and there. We didn't need to learn anything from you, which, of course, is probably so far from the truth if they've done well. But there seems to be a disconnect and there's yet this at the same time, there's very strong appreciation for their team members.
There's immense awareness. That okay. No, I couldn't do this without them. But it's almost like, again, even going back to sort of older school things of like, you know, the bosses or the supervisors don't mingle the employees because and in large corporations, there's sometimes good reasons for that people going out to Happy Hour and the other things that can go sideways with that. What do you find this does as far as how it makes the employer feel or the supervisor feel, whichever the specific system. But that leader feel, because it seems to me that very often they become isolated in their own company or in their own area.
And it's not this while I run the show. So I feel welcome. It's like, no, I kind of feel weird because everybody else there's nine employees. And so 90% of the people are in one group. I'm in the other group. And so even though I have the power, theoretically, sure, I'm kind of on the outside.
Yeah, I think it's a great question. So first off, I'll just say dreaming with means. It's a different. Like when I'm outlining the dreams list and everything with people, it's like there's a lot of, well, that would be cool. This would be cool. And when somebody who's running their own organization, does it mean everything on their list? Not everything. Way more of the things on their list are very attainable now. So I would even say it's more exciting for that person that's doing it. So that's more of a personal thing.
What I also see happen is they are far more relatable. And it's what you said kind of going back to your brothers, you know, business where his people were like, no, don't you dare try and hide that. I think that and I mentioned this before. I was nervous at first about, you know, Boasting, if you will, about a vacation or about, hey, I took two weeks, two and a half weeks when we went to Thailand. But if you come and ask me for two and a half weeks off by probably not.
That's a little different. Right. But what I found is that people want what the people will stay if they see a life that they are excited about. So I'm very open with my team about one of the things. My dreams list is a weekly date night with my wife. So a lot of things in the dream list aren't a checking off the list. Here's how I want to live. And so one of them for me is weekly date night with my wife. Right? Always date my wife.
And so I'm vocal, and my team knows do not reach out to me on Tuesday night. If you reach out to me on Tuesday night, I'm with my wife. And we were on a date. Yesterday was my book launch. Really big day. Where was I last night with my wife on a date night. Right. And so my team knows. And the appreciation that I get from them of, like that's so cool. And I was nervous about some of those things at first. And now it's a, well, we really admire that.
We want that we love that you go and take time with your family. We love this. I think if I were just not answering my phone on a Friday, people might say, Well, he's not available. But if I'm vocal about, hey, guys, one of the things in my dreams list is to make all my daughters field trips. And they have on Fridays. And so I'm not going to answer your calls on Friday. That now that's really cool. And so it just makes that person more relatable, because if I'm talking about dreams, I'm talking about my family.
I'm talking about my health, even if I have challenges where I'm like, I'd like to, you know, work out more regularly. And so it just makes you more of a human. Then you're this guy that's sitting in the back room with his door closed. And if he says, hey, I'd like to talk to you, I'm nervous. It's like that's not that's not what I want. The quote that all of this stems from is when there's hope in the future, there's power in the present. And I remember Matthew Kelly saying that on stage, when there's hope in the future, there's power in the present.
And what we need in life is something that's coming up. If I have a vacation coming up. Man, I'm excited about that. It's not just the trip itself. It's the anticipation of that trip. And how often in work do we not have clear objectives? Right. You mentioned, hey, I've got a big performer that already exceeded their objectives. Well, they should never exceed their objectives, because on the dream list, there's benchmarks the I want to earn 100 grand in a year, 500 grand a million. Right. And so if I hit one, it's like, could I do this other one?
And so I was just asking someone on my team about this. And they said, one of the cool things about the dreams process is every day that I wake up, I'm not going to work. I'm focused on my next dreams that I'm accomplishing. Work just happens to be the thing that's going to connect the dots, the easiest for me. And I think that that's not for the employee, that's for anybody who does this, right. Obviously, I do my dreams list regularly. And even after the book launch yesterday, my wife was like, you guys had some more on your list.
I was like, yeah, I'd love to do dreams workshop for professional sports team. Right. And she's like, you got to put that on the list. So it just provides more excitement. Life, I think for everybody.
That is so awesome. Wow. There's so much of this. And so as you mentioned, yes, there's a workshop you have. So we're recording this. This is September 29, 2021. Your book just launched yesterday. Congratulations on that.
That's. Thank you.
And you mentioned you have a free workshop coming up. What in two weeks?
Yeah, we're doing it on October 16. I'm doing it's basically what I do for companies. So anybody who buys three copies of the book and then they have to go to my website to redeem the offer or whatever. But they'll get access to the workshop to be able to do it themselves.
Awesome. Okay. And we'll put the information in there so you can get access to that. And just in general, we're going to put the links. But what's the main place website or Where's the simple space if people are just also list listing Where's the best place for people to reach you?
Yeah, my website. So it's Dan. Sagar. Com. And I post a lot on Instagram, but the website's got everything that's on there. The book is on there as well, and also different workshops and stuff.
Okay. Awesome. And then final question, have you found any company or group of people that this is not for?
Not yet. I'm actually I started diving into even the family sector with this as well. Like dreaming with families, because I do this with my wife and my kids. And so no, the answer is no, not yet. Maybe at some point.
Okay. Cool. Alright. So I've got a few closing questions for you here. If you could give your audience your target audience one skill. What would that be?
Vision being able to clearly see three to five years down the line for other individuals so they can be that light for those people.
Oh, I like that second. What's the costliest, business mistake you've ever made and what did you learn?
Lack of appreciation. So not seeing the writing on the wall that a top performer was on their way out. And so what did I learn is exactly what I was talking about. In terms of my people are temporary, constantly recording the top people. We get comfortable with our top producer. You're like, well, they wouldn't leave. They're making X amount of money. It's like, well, they would because they believe they could make that somewhere else. And they could. Right. So it's making sure to never take any of those individuals for granted.
Awesome. What's the best business decision you've ever made? And how did you execute it?
Best decision, betting on myself, even the business with Coco that I've been in, it's like that was a bet on myself right out of College. And so every time that I have had the opportunity to, whether it was this book or something else, it's worked out because I know myself and I know I'll put in the work. So I really think it's betting on yourself.
Awesome. What are you most excited about in your business right now?
So when it comes to the dream machine stuff, I'm excited. It's finally out there. I believe in this thing wholeheartedly. I wrote the book so that somebody wouldn't necessarily need to hire me. They could just take the book and say, I feel good with this. I can do it. But I'm also really excited about all the connections and the people I'm going to get to meet through this, just like these conversations here because I think that just hearing it, people can put their own spin on it just like I did with the dream manager.
Awesome. And what are you most excited about in your life right now?
My kids, they're five and three. So they are anybody who has kids, you know, that age, they're getting along really well, and it's awesome. It's a ton of fun right now.
That is so cool. Dan, thank you so much for investing your time with us, sharing with us and hopefully inspiring people to think bigger to dream bigger. And maybe if it's not happening workplace, if you're the employee, maybe you read it and you start your own list and maybe introduce it to your boss or your supervisor. I think there's so much possibility in this and very often it's just about having those adult conversations to say, hey, here's something that could help, and maybe they'll take to it.
Maybe they won't. But overall, I know if I were an employee, I want to be in a culture that's doing this or at least something pretty darn close. So thank you again for joining us today. Really appreciate your insight and your expertise.
Thanks for having me. I enjoyed it. Absolutely.
And thank you everybody for listening. As always, look forward to helping you help more people and make more money in less time. Doing you do best so you can better enjoy, your family, your friends and your life.
Division Manager at Vector Marketing / Trainer of Management, Leadership, and Sales / Culture Creator and Dream Achiever
Dane Espegard is a culture consultant who teaches, assists and executes the implementation of a Culture centered around Dream Achieving.
The system is bottom-up and puts the emphasis on the development and personal lives of the team member.
Dane works with companies in a very simple manner to get the culture started and leaves them with some very easy to implement steps.