The Inspiring Power of Dreams and the Business Solutions They Provide

If you’re a leader looking for good leadership tips, I have one for you: Pay attention to the dreams you have at night.

The selections below are from chapter 1 of What Your Dreams Are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep, which Cindy McGill and I (David Sluka) wrote together. It’s a positive, encouraging look at how what you dream at night can provide solutions during the day.

You’ll see how one leader of a Fortune 500 Company listened to her dream and brought a significant change to business and the way an industry does business. I’m very proud to personally know Julie Gilbert Newrai—whose story we tell to open the book. She’s amazing and the work she does is amazing. I’m grateful she let us tell her story. Enjoy it and be encouraged to let your dreams at night make a difference during the day.

The piece you're looking for might come as you sleep.

Dreams unlock solutions while you sleep. What are your dreams telling you?

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What kind of business results do you think a dream at night could inspire? How about a $4.4 billion increase in revenue!

In 2004 Julie Gilbert Newrai was creating a new business called Magnolia Home Theater for Best Buy Company, Inc. As she built Magnolia, she continually asked herself if a frontline employee or a customer with the same idea as she had could ever realize the opportunity of bringing a new, game-changing business to life. With that in mind, she created an internal program inviting the creative voices of employees and customers to be heard. The passion and innovation she found in these voices deeply impacted Julie.

As part of the business development process, Julie also interviewed high-end male customers and their wives, which increased her awareness of the influence and spending power of women. Simply put, women were making the overwhelming majority of purchases in Best Buy stores (and in every major industry around the globe), and no process existed to bring their fresh ideas to life.

During this time, Julie had a dream taking her back to her childhood when she would stay up late at night listening to wolves howl. She immediately saw the similarity between what was happening at Best Buy and the voices of the wolves. The voices of customers and customer-facing employees were like the howls, except that they went unheard and therefore were not receiving the attention necessary to bring forth any winning combination of business ideas.

Inspired by this dream, Julie created WOLF, which she defines as “a methodology and structure of global innovation teams.” These teams, called wolf packs, were comprised of customers and employees. The wolf packs were connected to key executive business leaders who could implement the best ideas the wolf packs generated about training, marketing, call centers, website design, store design, hiring and other key business elements.

Four years after the dream that led to Julie’s creation of WOLF, some of the business outcomes it achieved at Best Buy included:

  • $4.4 billion increase in revenue from female customers (11 percent increase in total company revenue)
  • Highest ever female market share in company history
  • Largest increase in brand perception in company history
  • Passionate, global, viral customer networks growing market share and innovating new business offerings
  • 5 percent reduction in female turnover, resulting in a minimum of $25 million in savings
  • 18 percent increase in the number of female employees
  • 40 percent increase in female general managers and general managers in training, and 60 percent increase in female operations managers

In response to WOLF’s success, numerous Fortune 100 businesses and nonprofits sought out Julie and her WOLF methodology for assistance in developing new products and services for the female market. In May 2009, Julie formed a consulting firm, WOLF Means Business, as a way to help numerous organizations authentically innovate and grow their businesses.

Julie’s dream led to a solution—a mutually profitable solution for a company, its customers and its employees—that began with inviting unheard voices to make a difference. Because Julie responded to this dream in the night, Best Buy saw amazing results from 2004 to 2009. Since then, her award-winning work has spread to other business around the world through WOLF Means Business.1

Everyone Dreams Every Night

You have the same potential to see positive results by acting on the dreams you have at night. Often I hear people say, “Well, I don’t dream at night.” Research shows that except in a few cases of injury (and you are probably not one of those cases), everyone has about four dreams each night.2 Those deprived of dreams actually become irritable, have difficulty concentrating and hallucinate. Even more significant, if you were deprived of both food and dreams, you would die sooner from a lack of dreams.3

You will spend about one-third of your life sleeping and have over 1,400 dreams each year.4 That means by the time you are forty (about half of your life), you will have had over 56,000 dreams.

About 80 percent of the time that babies are sleeping, they are dreaming. The rest of us dream about every 90 minutes that we are asleep throughout the night.5 Unfortunately, within five minutes of waking up you usually forget half of your dream, and within ten minutes, 90 percent is gone.6

It is inaccurate, therefore, when people say, “I don’t have dreams.” More accurately, people who think they do not dream are just not remembering their dreams when they wake up.

By the time we die, most of us will have spent a quarter of a century asleep, of which six years or more will have been spent dreaming. Sleep is so much more than just a time to rest your body. It is also a time to receive messages that can help you when you are awake. Why waste this time merely sleeping? Use it to receive the information you need to live a more successful, satisfied life!

The Inspiring Power of Dreams

Throughout history—for those who have listened—dreams have inspired inventions, scientific discoveries, businesses, books, songs and poetry. They have warned of danger and have provided insight and direction. It is time to pay attention to this extraordinary source of enlightenment—your dreams.

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You can buy the paperback or ebook by clicking on the book cover on the right column of the website. Or click here.

Question: What have your dreams inspired? Leave your comment below the endnotes.

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© 2013 Cindy McGill and David Sluka, What Your Dreams Are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep, Published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Used by permission.

1. This section is an adaptation of the content found on Julie’s website www.WolfMeansBusiness.com. Used by permission. Co-author David Sluka was part of Julie’s team at Best Buy Company, Inc., and experienced firsthand the transformational nature of her work.

2. Faith Hickman Brynie, Sleep and Dreams: 101 Questions about Sleep and Dreams (Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2006), chapter 2.

3. Derrick Jensen, Dreams (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011), chapter entitled “Other Sides.”

4. Brynie, Sleep and Dreams, chapter 2.

5. James R. Lewis and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver, The Dream Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Canton, Mich.: Visible Ink Press, 2009), 64.

6. Dream Moods, “dream facts and tidbits,” Dream Moods, Inc., online, June 5, 2012, http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamfacts.htm.

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