by Prem

Giving meaning to what we do is the key to motivation and commitment. The meaning is often given to our actions by our dreams. Training is also one of our actions, one that is supposed to change the participants and their attitude. In the training, the participants’ dreams can be presented in a formula of the DREAM type goals. These are goals which in a certain way are the opposite of the SMART type goals. The DREAM type goals, as the very name suggests, are in fact dreams. Dreams are not specific, they are multithreaded, a little hazy, sometimes even irrational. Still, they are a motor of our actions and everyday decisions. They give strength, consistency, perseverance, they pave the way and indicate the direction. That is why they motivate us so much towards the actions. The DREAM type goals refer to a vision of oneself, “Who am I to be?”, “What am I to be?”, “What will I achieve?”, “What will I be able to do?” The self-strength vision is used in commercials. Most of the ads tell us our own story. If in a commercial we see a happy mom eating cereal together with her kids, we also want to be the happy mother, because that is our dream. If there is a hunk behind the wheel of a Porsche, it is not a Porsche that is our desire, but being the hunk (driving one). What does all that have to do with training? In the training the most important thing is to change oneself. The change can only happen if you want it though. There are no greater desires than those in our dreams, that is why every coach’s role is referring exactly to those dreams. The SMART type goals, dear coach, will not help you here, but the DREAM type ones will. Compare two examples of training goals described below.


“With this training, you will build a team of people who respect and support one another, creating an atmosphere of commitment and cooperation.”

“With this training, the employee satisfaction rate will increase by 15% in 6 months from the training time.”

Surely, you can recognize which of the goals is the DREAM, the story of yourself as a team leader, and which is a specific, measurable, time-specified SMART type goal. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the first situation where you gladly observe the daily work of your men, who sometimes whisper in the hall about how cool it is to work on your team. Now, for a change imagine that you have just received a report from the employee satisfaction survey, which indicates that the level of satisfaction has increased by 15%. Ok, in both cases the goals have been achieved, but which of them do you feel better about? I can respect if it’s the latter one (SMART), but I will take a risk with a statement that the majority would be in favor of the former one (DREAM).

If we take a look at the first level of the Kirkpatrick model (the training effectiveness evaluation model) it actually estimates the readiness, and openness to a change. One of the most important tools to build the motivation to change is a goal, the goal being a dream of the participant. You can use different ways to communicate the goals, you can do it directly, tell stories, use a metaphor, whatever you want. However, before you move to the scope of training, create for the participants a vision of themselves after the training. Stay at the DREAM level. Well then, but is that enough? Where is the measurability, where are the deadlines, where are the actions? I will get back to that in another post.

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