From the editor – Nurturing passions to inspire employee engagement

Posted on Jan 1, 2015 :: Editor
Margaret LeBrun
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Some people have dream jobs. They are the lucky ones — depending on what survey you read, between a third and one-half of Americans are disengaged from their jobs.

Somewhere in between are a whole lot of people who like their jobs but feel uninspired. Often, their dreams have little to do with their work. These are the employees who could be more productive in their companies, even thrive, if encouraged to pursue their dreams off the clock.

Inspired by “The Dream Manager,” by author Matthew Kelly, at least two organizations in our region have embraced this concept. One, Miron Construction Co. Inc., even hired a full-time dream coach. She meets with employees, helps them identify their dreams, create a plan for realizing them and then helps them connect with the resources they need to follow through.

A similar program at Goodwill Industries NCW has resulted in a measurable reduction in insurance claims. Miron CEO Dave Voss says, “If I could take 10 employees and turn them from marginal people into people who are excited about their life … it builds a better team.” For the complete story, see our Wellness feature by Associate Editor Nikki Kallio.

This concept became crystal clear during the time I spent last month with our cover subject, Anika Conger-Capelle, vice president and general manager at Conger ToyotaLift. Conger-Capelle is absolutely engaged in leading her team at the company she co-owns with her father, Gary Conger, who now works part time. She appreciates and knows quite a lot about the Toyota forklifts and other material handling equipment at Conger and has inspired their team of 92 employees, even taking it upon herself to host seminars about the company’s history, mission, operations and goals. Yet, her avocation — competitive horseback riding — is what truly inspires her.

“They are my getaway,” she says of her horses. “I go into a completely different world with them because I feel a connection into who I am, and my life, and how that’s made me to become successful.”

Sometimes, people take their hobbies and turn them into businesses. This is what happened with the owners of Factotum, this month’s Small Business feature. Justin Kuehl and Nate Lenz, both in their 20s, liked turning used wood products into furniture and décor. A little more than a year ago, they launched their business and were surprised at how quickly it took off. One of their projects was creating the decorative wall and floor in the new lobby at Conger. For a glimpse of the wall, check out the video interview with Conger-Capelle.

Starting a new year is a great time to reflect on — and make a plan for — realizing our dreams. Given that the economy is finally looking bright after the long crawl out of the recession, it’s an even better time to ponder positive change. The First Business Economic Survey, as well as the NEW Manufacturing Alliance’s Manufacturing Vitality Index, reveal overwhelmingly positive signs (see our New North feature).

When times are good, we are empowered to look to the future. To grow our companies. And yes, to pursue our passions.
What do you dream about? Our New Year’s toast to you: Identify what makes you passionate and make a plan to go after it.

Here’s to a bright and prosperous 2015!

Margaret LeBrun

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →