He Dreamed It, So He Built It

He Dreamed It, So He Built It

I recently attended a conference aimed at leaders in both the government and GovCon (government contracting) sectors. It was held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA.

A lot of good things happened at that conference. But those are stories for another day.

Back in my room I had the Milton Hershey documentary on. I think it played a good five times over the course of my stay – making great background noise as I snuck in a bit of work or tried to settle my mind to sleep.

Ironically it was while I was in the bathroom wrestling with an errant curl that this statement from the narrator really caught my attention:

“He dreamed it, so he built it”

And I thought about the power of that statement.

There have been some very solid advisors to me on the CEO journey. More than one has offered up a tried and true “formula” for success.

Some of them gave me advice I should have taken sooner. Some of them gave me advice I should never have taken. Some of them gave me advice I wisely didn’t even consider taking. Some of them have given me advice I took right away and I’m grateful for that decision.

But while these great advisors in my life have offered up their insights with the very best of intentions and I’m grateful– a lot of that came from their dreams and not mine.

“He dreamed it, so he built it.”

Milton Hershey built a town around a business and that business was chocolate. Coincidently, I had sitting at home roughly 12 lbs of Hershey’s chocolate candy waiting for the trick or treaters who would be knocking on my door the day I got home.

As each costumed superhero, wizard, storm trooper, Barbie, witch, Disney Princess rang my bell and put their bags and buckets out for the handfuls of Hershey’s candy bars I would give them, I kept hearing “He dreamed it, so he built it” as I smiled at the dreams those costumes represented.

In the background stood parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, guardians – watching protectively over the children in front of me. So many dreams they have too.

My children are grown. I pray every day that they still have dreams and are still chasing those dreams, even if the challenges of everyday life might be slowing them down a little bit. Milton Hershey had those challenges too – including the relatively early loss of his beloved wife. I remember those days of walking from door to door proud and protective. I still love answering the door to my neighbors and their kids on this hallowed night.

I wonder what Milton would have thought if he’d known that it would be his candy connecting generations and neighbors and children and dreams.

And I’m reminded that companies are the same. They are filled with people who have dreams and are building their dreams. That the person at the reins or helm of each company I work with has dreams. And that I am deeply privileged to have the opportunity to dream and build with a group of incredibly gifted teammates we call employees.

The conference at Hershey was during Halloween and Excel made quite an entrance.

The conference at Hershey was during Halloween and Excel made quite an entrance.