Since my daughter was a toddler I've had a routine of laying down with her for a few minutes at the end of each day. We savour the day together, say prayers of thanks and chit chat about the silly, the sad, the strange.
I've come to know when she's ready to stop talking, and start drifting off. I can tell because every night she asks me:
"What should I dream about?"
Aw man. That question makes me smile so big. More than that. That question makes me happy. The very question suggests I have something to offer. The very question reminds me how much she loves having me ignite her imagination. Some version of teddy bears, space adventures, unicorns or sea creatures usually comes out of my mouth.
"I've got one." She replies. It's never actually the exact one I suggest - always some off shoot from my idea that she's created with her own imagination.
CEOs, Managers, leaders in any context...I believe the people you lead are looking for this very same thing. From you. People love to have their imaginations ignited. People love to have something to dream about. There are too many people who work in a world where they feel like we have to leave their imagination at home to succeed at work.
Why do we do our dreaming and imagining, or aspiring toward some future destination when we're at home, around the people we love, and then...turn it off, park it, set it aside, while we go to work?
Great leaders answer this question for their people.
Great leaders know that their people are always asking them, in one way or another "What should I dream about?" Great workplaces are filled with people taking time to imagine. They're imagining a future destination, an outcome or an impact that creates a sense of wonder - maybe even a sense of awe - within them. When you give them something to dream about - your own version of a space adventure - they'll enhance it with their own imaginations.
Give your team something to dream about. It's the first part of any great strategy and is the piece of the strategy puzzle that has the greatest potential to align your team and connect them - to one another, to your future, and to you, their leader.
So tell me. What should I dream about?