Leadership – 11th in A Series

Ed BurghardTeach People To Dream

One of the focus areas for Management when I worked at P&G was to find the “big idea”. This is a concept that would have a noticeable and measurable impact on the business. It seemed like every conversation with Management centered on defining the “big idea”. I will admit that there were time when it was tiresome and you wished Management would just let you move forward with a good old-fashioned “little idea” that worked. But, the point of the conversation was to teach us to dream and then pursue those dreams with passion and commitment to see them realized.

My own experience over the years taught me that there are a thousand moving parts in managing a brand. Excellence in execution of the tactical plan clearly helped deliver the bas business forecast. But inevitably, discontinuous incremental business growth could be tracked back to 1 or 2 big ideas. And, if more resources had been invested in their execution the business growth would have been even more impressive.

Some of you may think what I am talking about is puffery. If you are one of those people, I encourage you to check out my profile on LinkedIn. You’ll see the delivered business results. They represent in-market evidence that pursuing “big idea” thinking has the potential to create a dramatic improvement in your Organization’s performance. I was lucky to work for leaders who encouraged me to dream.

Great Leaders Encourage Dreaming

Below is an excerpt from a talk on the role dreaming plays in effective leadership. It is from a handout I received while attending a lecture on the subject. I thought I’d share it because the concept of encouraging dreaming as a leadership responsibility is unique and worth thinking about.

Leadership 11

Excerpt From Lecture Handout

The human resource is more valuable than the capital resource. Leaders, not Managers, make the difference. Creativity and realizing the vision is the leader’s key role.

Employee monitoring tends to generate negative images of intrusive bosses peering into employees’ time and in-office or online activities. This has surfaced as an even bigger topic of debate during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the need for remote work and social distancing. A lot of staff now work from home too so if that is the case for your business then you should consider using employee activity monitoring software as that makes it so much easier to keep track of their activity.

The real value to a Company in the next century will not be managers who teach people to execute – it will be leaders who teach people to dream. We must make room for dreamers and create an environment where the price people pay to effect change is not so painful that few people are willing or able to pay it. Because an idea is 1,000 times more powerful than a fact, success requires that in the future ideas are valued even more than facts have been in the past.

Leaders must capture the hearts of people — not just their hands and heads. Every person is a unique source of knowledge and information.

When your pupils become your teachers, you have reached maturity as a leader. When people do things because they want to – not because they have to – you have succeeded as a leader.

Enthusiasm is contagious – it moves people to action. It is more impactful than rank or position.

A leader’s job:

  • To teach so people will know.
  • To share so people will grow.
  • To give light so that people will find their own way.


I particularly like the author’s final description of what a leader’s job is. The “teach, share, give” concept is a nice way to summarize the behaviors leaders should exhibit. What are your thoughts on the importance of giving people the encouragement and safety to dream? Is your experience the same as mine on the impact of big ideas on discontinuous growth? What are the big ideas your Organization is working on? Do you feel you are encouraged to dream? Do you feel you encourage others to dream?

Leadership series.

1st in a series

2nd in a series

3rd in a series

4th in a series

5th in a series

6th in a series

7th in a series

8th in a series

9th in a series

10th in a series

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