Stop being the hero

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor asked me to change the oil in his lawn tractor. I enjoy that kind of work, so I gladly said yes. However, I was unsure of a couple of details, so I called my cousin, who repairs small engines for a living, to get some advice. 

This is a common pattern in stories. 

A character encounters a problem, and they seek an expert to help guide them.

  • Daniel found Mr. Miagi. (The Karate Kid)
  • Luke found Yoda. (Star Wars)
  • Clark even asked his dad how he pulled off Christmas. (Christmas Vacation)

You may be wondering, “Why do I care about this as
a leader worth following?”

Because it tells you where you fit your customer’s story. You are the guide who is helping the customer get what they want. 

For example, in the last couple of years, our aging dog experienced some health challenges. She was old, and we were not going to do major surgeries. So, we relied on our vet to guide us through difficult decisions. (In contrast, the emergency vet always wanted to do more tests and procedures.)

Right now, we are considering some lawn projects. We don’t just want someone to do the work. We want someone to guide us through the process with our budget.

Let’s be honest. Medical care can be so frustrating in our day because we have lost the “doctor as a guide” principle. And if you hear of a doctor who is a good guide, you can’t get an appointment.

To better position yourself as the guide, ask these questions:

  • Do we talk about what we can do, or how we can help the customer get what they want?
  • How can we position ourselves as a guide? How can we show we are worthy of that role?
  • What does our customer want?


Thanks for being a leader worth following,

Brian Rutherford
Director of Content & Product Strategy


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is Director of Content and Product Strategy for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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