How to Hire a Dream Manager for Your Small Business

08 October

One of the core values we share at Infusionsoft is that we believe in people and their dreams. We encourage our employees to think big about their work and to envision a future that inspires them. We value equally the dreams of our employees in their personal lives. We believe that work should provide a path to achieve the personal dreams of our employees. We know that employees that are engaged and connected to Infusionsoft and its values are the key to our success. We want every Infusionsite to be find the better version of themselves. A DREAM came true a few weeks ago at Infusionsoft when we hired a Dream Manager. You may be thinking, a “what manager?’”

A Dream Manager is a full-time employee at Infusionsoft who will be a personal coach to each employee to help them envision their dreams, plan for their dreams and hold them accountable so they effectively progress toward realizing their dreams. Inspired by the book by Michael Kelly, Dream Manager, Infusionsoft started thinking about creating its own Dream Manager program a in early 2011. This year the budget gods looked favorably upon us and our company made a commitment to make this a critical part of our culture and progression path of employees. The experience of hiring a Dream Manager was challenging. Think about it.

  1. We didn’t know anyone who had ever been a Dream Manager. No candidate we would meet in the process had ever done this job before.
  2. On the other hand, everyone who heard about the Dream Manager position wanted in and thought it was their “dream job.”
  3. There was no precedence for the position -- no criteria established, qualifications defined, salary benchmarks, performance metrics, etc.

But as we do, we faced this challenge with optimism and collaborated on a job description. Before long we were interviewing candidates. We interviewed life coaches, HR professionals, organizational behavior experts and a number of other people who seemed like they would fulfill the requirements. The anticipation to see this bold idea come to fruition was high. However, the reality soon confronted us. While we had numerous candidates, none satisfied our dream for a Dream Manager. The lack of a market of dream managers and our lack of clarity left us without a candidate that felt like the right fit. So we iterated. As a culture development team, we revisited and revised the job description. We went back to square-one and asked ourselves what really is critical for a successful Dream Manager at Infusionsoft. We brainstormed about qualities, skills, characteristics and experience that were required. Our finalized list of priorities for the position of Dream Manager follows:

  • Loving people from their point of view and where they are in their journey
  • Building a trusting open relationship with all temperament styles
  • Creating an environment where people want to openly share their dreams
  • Understanding personal change models and motivation styles
  • Passion for Infusionsoft and the small business owners we serve
  • You are an encouraging, affirming person, and you fully support their dream, without an agenda
  • You have read the Dream Manager book by Matthew Kelly
  • Servant leadership is a philosophy that guides you
  • A proven track record doing all of the above with adults in a “for profit” environment

Our second iteration yielded better candidates. We invited a handful of our best-qualified candidates to provide a two-hour dream session for a group of 10 Infusionsoft employees. With new priorities we found better aligned candidates  and we started to experience the power of dreaming as the dream sessions took place. Each candidate added their own personal creativity and before long our challenge of not having qualified candidates transformed into having to make the difficult decision between two amazing individuals. But it happened -- we have hired a Dream Manager. Think for a moment how unlikely it must have seemed when the idea to hire a Dream Manager was suggested a few years back. Would a growing software company really spend the resources for this? How could it? What is the ROI? It was indeed a dream. The experience itself reminds us all of the power of dreaming and more importantly, the exhilaration and empowerment derived by accomplishing a dream.  

Hal Halladay
Hal Halladay previously served as co-founder and CEO of technology start-up, a platform for apps that combines friends, files, feeds, apps and favorites. Halladay's career started on Wall Street, where he completed various corporate finance transactions as an investment banker for seven years. Subsequently, he has served as an executive at various technology companies for the past 13 years, where he developed and executed strategic initiatives for dynamic growth businesses. Hal was president and chief executive officer of North Sky, Inc., which grew to become a top-50 web site and was later acquired by, where he served as general manager for About Web Services. Halladay received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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