My boss has been known to say,” employees are a gift to be stewarded, not an asset to be managed.” There is so much truth in that statement. The talent we select to be part of our team brings unique abilities, perspectives, ideas, thinking and insights. If we are to maximize their contributions to our business, then we have to steward not just the competencies of the team member, but also their interests and their dreams. In our business, we hire many team members that are on their way to something else. For some, it is their very first job. For a few others, they may be pursuing an opportunity to operate their own restaurant. However, like the NCAA athletics commercial says, many will go pro at something else. To be a good steward of the talent entrusted to us, we need to know what the endgame is for our employees.

Haley has a dream. She wants to save enough money to pay her way through college and become a chemical engineer. She has worked since she was 15, earn the scholarship that her company offers and is on her way to be the first college graduate in her family. Juan has dreams to own his own business, maybe like the restaurant where he is a team leader, or perhaps another opportunity. He spends as much time with his leader as possible to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship. Calvin is retired from his first career, but enjoys extra spending money, especially when he goes to read to underprivileged kids on Sunday afternoons. He enjoys being able to offer them a candy bar or a soda. Bonita is saving money to buy her first car. Roderick enjoys his job as a training coordinator and loves to see his team members excel at new skills. He finds pleasure in seeing them succeed. Sandy works to earn extra money to provide needed therapy for her special needs child and she takes special joy in helping guests who need some assistance, too. Her dream is to provide the opportunity to mainstream her son at school.

While most people show up to work to earn a paycheck, all employees have options about where they earn it. We have the opportunity to engage their hearts by fostering their dreams. As a steward of the talent entrusted to his, we receive 100% of our team member’s efforts when they know we care about their dreams and desires. We receive their extra efforts when we help them achieve them. When their hearts are engaged in their work, our guests reap the benefits.

To foster the dreams of our employees, we must know and understand what the dream is and be willing to encourage the accomplishment of it. Do you know what each of your employees aspires to be and do? Are you willing to coach and encourage their dreams? If so, then you are on your way to being a steward of the gifts entrusted to you in the talent that has chosen to work for you. The man who fostered my dreams was known for often quoting a popular phrase: “If you help enough people get enough of what they want, you will eventually get what you want.” It worked out well for my boss. I think it is a principle that works for all of us. Let’s do a little dream work with our teams today.