Embrace the Hero’s (Customer’s) Journey

When we know what stories are near and dear to our Brand Lovers, we can build stronger relationships with them.

The hero starts out in an ordinary world before venturing into a special world.

He meets friend and foe. He undertakes quests. He faces challenges.

Winning a decisive victory—realizing his final goal—the hero returns from the adventure, transformed, bearing wisdom and new powers from his journey.

This hero’s quest is ancient. It can be observed in many religions including the stories of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Jesus Christ. It’s also the formula for every modern epic adventure including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit.

Why the Hero’s Journey Won’t Go Away

Why is the Hero’s Journey so powerful and pervasive in every culture? Why is this structure so effective in storytelling? And most importantly, how can it help you grow a stronger business?

When we engage in the story, our brains make us participants, not spectators.

The hero’s journey is ultimately about us. And we are fascinated with ourselves.

We identify with the hero, the protagonist, in the story.

The hero is a universal archetype that represents the ideal of child psychology. The hero’s journey is, ultimately, a journey of personal transformation of the adolescent psyche into mature adulthood. (Many modern films, however, don’t portray the completion of a hero’s quest. James Bond and Indiana Jones, for example, don’t ever change through the course of the story; they stay in child psychology from beginning to end.)

Each person, in fact, performs the lead role in a production of their own life story. And that includes both your customers and your employees (and you too).

The Primary Ingredient Behind Every Hero’s Journey

Your brand’s mission is to support your customers’ quests, to provide aid when needed.

To do this effectively, you need to know what fuels their story.

Compelling stories come down to one thing: problems.

The protagonist faces a problem and tries to overcome it. This is the essence of drama and the key to good storytelling.

Without problems, without troubles and tensions, there’s no story. There’s nothing to engage us.

The hero must face his problem, surmount his fear, resolve his tension. In so doing, he advances forward in his development toward greater competence and maturity.

Two Ways to Use Stories in Your Business

Brand messaging is the most common way to use stories in business. Advertisers use stories to communicate to customers on the subconscious level through emotions, images, and symbols.

The other use of story is far less known, but even more valuable when used appropriately. Instead of telling your customers your stories, try listening to theirs.

You’ll be amazed at what you can learn and discover.

Our personal stories are individual expressions of cultural narratives and universal themes of the collective unconscious of mankind. Our stories are part of what bind us together in the human family.

We each have our own stories to live and tell, some personal, others cultural.

These personal and cultural narratives are gateways into your customers’ psyches. When interpreted correctly, stories can be a powerful source of customer insights.

Your Hero-Customers Are Counting On You

The archetypal hero’s journey is hard-wired into your customers’ psyches. Learning how that story expresses itself in your customers’ lives provides powerful insights for better serving them.

All of your customers have stories. They are all in the process of becoming—starting at one point in space and time, looking to go to another, better place in the future.

You might be able to help them get there, but first you have to know where they are and what’s standing in the way of their transformation.

Businesses that help elevate their customers—that find ways to support their personal transformations in even a small way—hold a special place in the hearts and mind of their customers.

When we know what stories are near and dear to our Brand Lovers’—our best customers’—hearts and minds, we know what’s driving them. Then, we are better equipped to connect and build stronger relationships with them.

What are the stories that most influence your best customers?

Effective Advertising: The Three Acts of Your Customers’ Journey

Effective Advertising: Understand The tension. Agitate the tension. Solve the tension.

Brian is a 40-year-old executive at a software company. He’s married with two kids. Between work and family life, Brian hasn’t had much free time. But, Brian has a warrior in him screaming for actualization. He wants to train and complete a triathlon.

Brian is married to Laura. Laura has been a stay-at-home mom for the last fifteen years. It was a rewarding experience but Laura studied entrepreneurship in college. Now that both her kids are in high school, her inner entrepreneur is commanding her to start a business.

Both Brian and Laura are aligned with the archetype of the hero. They are both at the beginning of a hero’s journey.

The Significance of the Hero’s Journey

The hero is a powerful and pervasive archetype in our culture.

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell takes this single archetype of a hero and illustrates the universal adventure that all heroic figures share.

While the stories or faces of the hero may vary—depending on the particular culture, society, or era—the fundamental archetype remains the same.

Campbell held heroes with significance because they communicate universal truths about self-discovery and the individual’s role in society.

He believed that understanding the hero’s journey provides meaning for contemporary people by revealing the unifying nature of the human spirit in its aspirations, abilities, vicissitudes, and wisdom.

Customer Tensions and the Call to Adventure

Brian and Laura are about to leave their comfortable and familiar world and enter an unknown, special world.

This is often scary. As humans, we tend to seek the known and familiar. We like to feel comfortable. And, the unknown is uncomfortable.

For Brian, the unknown might be the state of his physical condition. Will he be able to condition his 40-year-old body with the stamina and endurance needed to complete a triathlon?

For Laura, the unknown might be her passion, creativity, and perseverance. Will she have what it takes to conceive of an idea and follow through in execution to profitability?

Because of the fear of the unknown, many heroes refuse the call to adventure. We delay. We set aside. We procrastinate. We make excuses.

But something brews inside of us. A tension builds. It’s small at first, but it grows strength in the darkness.

Tensions are those opposing forces at play within the individual. This internal conflict creates disharmony.

Humans don’t like disharmony, and so tensions catapult us out of the familiar. The feeling of disharmony leads to action and ultimately, a resolution.

The 3 Stages of the Hero’s Journey

Brian and Laura are at the initial stage of the hero’s journey. Campbell called this stage Departure. The hero departs from the world he knows. He then faces trials and tribulations in stage 2, called Initiation, before coming home in stage 3, the Return.

All of your customers are somewhere in this three-stage cycle, although the majority are in the Departure stage. Your job is to understand customer’s journey and the great tensions they are experiencing. Then, you can determine how to best serve them in completing their adventure.

Famed playwright David Mamet suggests a similar 3-act structure for plays and dramas in Three Uses of the Knife: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

Act 1 of the drama presents life as it is for the protagonist (the hero). In act 2, the character is faced with an opposing force that sends the hero into an upheaval (disharmony). The protagonist attempts to integrate the old life with the new in act 3.

The Hero’s Journey for Marketers

Your customers are heroes on their own unique journeys. Your job is to understand what tensions and obstacles they face on their quest and to determine how best to support them in completing a successful adventure.

Marketers can use a formula that mirrors this 3-act structure: problem, agitation, solution.

Understand the customer’s problem. Agitate it, readying them for action. Offer them your solution.

This formula works.

When you have penetrating customer insights into the tensions of your customers, this formula gives you the means to move them to action.

Do you know your customers’ tensions? Are you helping them resolve these tensions better than anyone else in your market?

The Power of the Image

Your marks, logos, and images have to be associated with a deep aspect of your customers’ hearts.

Few business leaders appreciate exactly how important imagery is in connecting to the hearts of their customers. Most marketers want to create imagery that will attract everyone. That’s impossible: when you try to be all things to all people, you become nothing meaningful to anyone.

Imagery will attract certain people and repel others. Cult Brands not only realize this, they capitalize on it.

Think about the blazing eagle tattoo of your typical HOG (Harley Owner Group) rally attendee. Does seeing that image excite you? Or do you think to yourself, “No thanks.” The point is that you’re either a lover of the Harley-Davidson brand, or you’re not.

Every image signals to consumers whether or not your brand is especially for them.

Symbols, Archetypes, and Your Brand

Why do images have so much power? Our logos and marks are symbols.

Symbols are triggers of archetypal images—energy patterns that rest in our subconscious mind. These primordial images are not personal to each individual, but are aspects of the “collective” of all of us. Eminent Swiss psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung highlighted that these archetypal images are the building blocks of thought.

These subconscious, archetypal images lay the foundation for the experience customers are going to have with your brand. The images you create in your logos and marks—the symbols—are a signal to the customer of what the brand represents.

In Man and His Symbols, Dr. Jung included an old Volkswagen advertisement with an aerial view of Beetle toy cars forming the shape of the Volkswagen logo. He noted that the advertisement “may have a ‘trigger’ effect on a reader’s mind, stirring unconscious memories of childhood. If these memories are pleasant, the pleasure may be associated (unconsciously) with the product and brand name.”

Archetypes: Connecting to Your Customers’ Hearts

Indeed, there is a science to connecting to the hearts of our customers. Marketers must find ways to positively influence customers through the use of powerful imagery. Only by understanding the images in our customers’ hearts can we create images that will connect with their minds and drive them to choose us more often than our competitors.

Business leaders must come better understand the meaning behind the energy patterns that give meaning to the forms we represent through our imagery. And they understand them, our communications must constantly support the meanings our customers find.

If you betray the image that’s connected to the customers’ hearts, you’ll quickly repel the cherished customers you’re trying to build long–lasting relationships with.

A critical power of branding lies in your ability to creatively associate your brand in highly relevant ways to your customers. Your marks, logos, and images have to be associated with a deep aspect of your customers’ hearts.

Take time to understand what’s meaningful to your customers—to comprehend what’s in their hearts. Only then can you hope to connect with your customers on a deeper, more meaningful level and create a powerful brand that’s irreplaceable in the hearts and minds of your customers.

The Most Important Key to an Effective Retail Marketing Strategy

How can you do a better job resolving your customers' tensions?

The key to any successful retail marketing strategy comes down to understanding the end customers. Only after you understand your target customers can you formulate effective strategies for attracting them.

Learn What’s Important to Your Customers

Here are some of the questions you can explore to better understand your customers:

  1. What are the primary needs and wants that your customers have which you hope to fulfill?
  2. What are the problems or tensions your customers have that your products or services can resolve? (What problems can they resolve now? What could they resolve in the future?)
  3. At present, how do your customers currently resolve these problems or tensions? Where do they go? Who do they go to? What do they do to solve these problems?
  4. How can you do a better job resolving these problems or tensions for your customers?
  5. Where do your target customers spend their time? How can you reach them? Are they online? Do they commute to work? Do they read magazines or e-zines? Can you engage them on social media?

The fundamental idea behind this line of questioning is to get to the hearts and minds of your customers. The goal is to learn what’s important to your customers. You want to understand their motivations and to better appreciate the role your business can and does play in their lives.

The Value of Customer Psychology

Perhaps it isn’t abundantly clear why this line of questioning is so important for effective retail marketing. After all, you’re just trying to sell people stuff, right?

Well, it turns out that if you want to sell people stuff in a competitive marketplace you need to understand why people buy your stuff in the first place. If your competitors have this knowledge, they will outpace you. If you possess this knowledge, you can effectively compete. It’s that simple.

Businesses that just focus on generating the next transaction shy away from mining too deeply into customer psychology; they are mainly interested in converting the next sale.

In contrast, brands that take a relational mindset to their customers and value cultivating long-term customer loyalty tend to appreciate customer behavior and seek to better understand it.

And perhaps it goes without saying, but brands with customer loyalty have a better chance of being in business a year from now or twenty years from now. Understanding consumer psychology is important for any long-term effective retail marketing strategy.

The New Rule of Positioning

Positioning statements aren't taglines: that's just one expression of a positioning statement that customers can easily understand.

A positioning strategy is a way of positioning your retail products and services in the mind of your customers.

As marketers, we aspire to build stronger positions—to create a place in the mind of our prospects and customers where our products are positively recalled.  We hope to trump our competitors by finding the right words and the perfect tagline to complement our strengths while highlighting our competitors’ weaknesses. A classic example from Avis: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.”

The Death of Positioning

The idea of positioning a brand has ruled marketing for over 30 years. We put our hopes into positioning because it offers a formula for building a bridge from our corporate meetings to the sale of our product. What we generally end up with, however, is a string of words that is irrelevant to customers.

Here’s why: What a person perceives is that person’s reality and perception is unique for each individual. We each hold different perceptual filters based on factors like our beliefs, values, behaviors, experiences, and senses. Two potential customers can see the same billboard ad of a woman holding a beer bottle and have completely different responses. One person becomes stimulated; another becomes enraged.

The unfortunate reality is that no marketer has the power to position anything in the customer’s mind, which is the core promise of all positioning strategies. The notion that positions are created by marketers has to die. Each customer has their own idea of what you are.

Positioning is not something you do, but rather, is the result of your customer’s perception. Positioning is not something we can create—the act of positioning belongs to the customers.

A New Approach to Positioning Strategies

Behind your positioning statement is your intention—how you desire your business to be represented to customers. Once the real role of positioning is understood, having a positioning statement can be useful by clarifying your brand’s essence within your organization.

By examining the essence of what you are and comparing it with what your customers want, the doors open to building a business with a strong positioning in the mind of the customer. Why? Great brands merge their passion with their positioning into a tagline that captures the essence of both.


Famous Taglines From Major Retail Brands

A few famous examples:

  • Walmart: “Always low prices. Always.” This was not just a tagline; it was Walmart’s battle cry for all their buyers, merchants, and everyone who touches the customer.
  • Apple: “Think different.” Apple communicated to the world that you can think different with every single one of their products.
  • Nike: “Just do it.”

Strong positions can last many years. Nike has waved the just do it banner for over 30 years. They continue to find new and amazing ways to say it repetitively without boring their audience. Their position gives them permission to express something that is powerful. “Just do it” belongs to the customer—people love that. To be able to “just do it” makes you want to jump hurdles or sprint a marathon.

But, positions can also change. Walmart retired “Always low prices, always” after 13 years in 2007 and replaced it with “Save money. Live better.” The new positioning reflected the changing desires of their customer base: they were starting to think not just in terms of deals but what else that deal enabled them to do in their lives.

How to Effectively Use a Positioning Strategy

Positioning statements aren’t just about taglines: that’s just one expression of it that’s easily able to be understood by your customers.

Positions should penetrate everything your company does.

To fully integrate your positioning statement within the customers’ minds, you must start from within your business. Every member of your organization that touches the customer has to be the perfect expression of your position. And since everyone touches the customer in some way, everyone should be the best expression of your position.

Now comes the hard part: Put up everything that represents your brand on a wall. List all your brand’s touchpoints—every point of interaction with your customer. With a critical, yet intuitive eye, ask:

  • How can I more fluidly communicate my brand’s desired position?
  • Does every touchpoint look, say, and feel like the brand I want my customers to perceive?

Most marketers don’t have the clarity and conviction of following through on their words. Without certainty, they default to the status quo.

Turn everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. This takes courage: to actively position your brand means you have to stand for something. Only then are you truly on your way to owning your very own position in the minds of your customers.

Can You Listen to Your Customer?

Gathering information about your customer is not the same thing as listening to them.

If you were to conduct an immediate survey right now, this very instant, of all of the leadership of all of the companies you interact with, in one form or another, over the course of any given 24 hour period, I can say, with a pretty high degree of confidence, that they’ll all tell you they listen to their customers.

Some of these companies are telling you the truth.

Others, not so much. It’s not an intentional deception, mind you. These organizations think they’re tuned right into their customers.  They point to tall, towering, extremely expensive piles of market research and demographic data with pride. All of this accumulated information must prove they’re listening to their customer.

Then we watch these companies in action. Inevitably, a point arises where it becomes clear to the uninterested observer that there’s a significant disconnect between the company and the customer. When that disconnect reaches a critical point, the brand suffers serious damage.

Although they’ll apologize out of necessity, internally they’ll blame it on a changing consumer environment that’s produced uber-senstive consumers. After all, how could all of their research have led them astray?

Yet, this phenomenon of misreading customers isn’t anything new: there’s just more eyes out there to catch companies when they’ve misread what the customers want.

All of these companies thought they’d been listening to their customers. Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “Do you listen to your customers?” we should be asking, “Can you listen to your customer?”

Customers First: What Do You Need to Listen to Your Customer?

Gathering information about your customer is not the same thing as listening to them. You can accumulate data all day long, only to discover that you’re not protected from making the mistakes that you saw other companies make but never believed you could.

You have to be able to listen not only to what your customers say, but what they mean.

One of our favorite stories comes in the early days of social media: before anyone changed their outfits on TikTok, before anyone filtered a selfie on Instagram, and just two years after Twitter launched and Facebook expanded beyond the college market.

The year was 2008 and epic fails just started becoming a thing. Motrin took an iron-heavy approach to babywearing that proved that if Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

It’s safe to assume that at some point, via market research or focus groups, Motrin figured out that being a good mom was important to a good portion of their market. So far, so good. The need to nurture is what we call a universal driver.  The compulsion to care for the next generation is a pretty significant asset for the species that wants to stick around for a while. There’s a caregiver instinct hardwired into our psyche.

Motrin, of course, is also very interested in talking to people with backaches.

When you put those pieces together, you get this ad:

There’s even an explicit call-out to the “be a good mom” message. It blew up in their faces in a magnificent way because they didn’t know how to listen to their customer, completely and in a meaningful way.

It’s important to the customer to be a good mom. What, then, does being a good mom mean?

It sounds like a simple question. It doesn’t, however, have a simple answer.  We all have our own personal definition of what it means to be a good mom, based on our own experiences, but that’s not where the story should end. We need to understand what being a good mom means for the customer. The definition varies by community and culture. Within each group, you’ll find that being a good mom comes with its own set of expectations and norms—a set of rules to be followed by anyone wanting to be seen and acknowledged as a good mom within the group.

Some of these rules are overtly articulated, while others are conveyed via subtle social pressures. The customers begin internalizing these rules from the moment they’re born and continue to do so throughout their lives. Becoming a parent and having small children pushes these rules very prominently into consciousness; this is all information that is highly useful and relevant to have as they navigate a new experience.

As an organization, you really need to know what those rules are. You need to respect and honor the importance of these core beliefs in your customers’ lives. Motrin went wrong because the ad campaign violated two major, if unwritten, laws of American motherhood:

  • All parenting choices are made in the best interest of the child.
  • Mothers do not experience physical pain or exhaustion.

By suggesting that some mothers chose babywearing in order to follow the whims of fashion and that this could cause backaches, Motrin introduced a tension into their customers’ lives.  It may be entirely true that a customer chose to wear their baby in a sling because they thought it was a cool, trendy way to carry the baby, and that it was that exact choice that contributed to their back pain—but it is equally true that to admit to these sentiments go directly against powerful cultural norms. This tension can be experienced wholly on the unconscious level, but it is powerful enough to make the customer uncomfortable.

It is human nature to avoid the uncomfortable. Rather than confront the validity of cultural norms, especially in relation to our own personal experience, it’s easier to avoid the brand that introduced the tension into our lives.  Anger and hostility are common responses to the tension as well, as evidenced by the heated response to the Motrin babywearing campaign.

Had Motrin known what their customers meant when they said they wanted to be a good mom, they could have easily avoided violating these rules.

Delving deeper into your customer’s behavior and experiences makes it easier to develop a more comprehensive understanding you can use to connect effectively and efficiently with them—without any of the headaches Motrin experienced.  That’s the value of really listening to your customers and putting your customers first.

The Three Cs of Customer Loyalty: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

making your customers happy in a single transaction simply isn’t enough. You need to meet and exceed their needs across the entire customer journey.

If marketing is a discipline, consistency is the ultimate marker for success.

More importantly, if you want to get the edge over your competitors and retain loyal customers, a consistent customer experience is vital.

As you know, making your customers happy in a single transaction simply isn’t enough. You need to meet and exceed their needs across the customer’s entire journey.

There are three key areas of consistency that we’ve found to be critical for cultivating customer loyalty and increasing revenue:

Consistent Emotional Anchoring

What are the primary emotions your best customers experience and associate with your brand? For example, does your brand evoke feelings of joy, love, wonder, energy, hope, optimism, or strength?

Knowing your brand’s target emotions is the first step.

Next, you need to ensure that a critical mass of customers are experiencing these emotions consistently when they interact with your brand.

Consistent Messaging

Consistent messaging has two vital components: highlighting your brand’s promise and demonstrating that you fulfill that promise.

Do your customers know what they expect when they interact with your business? And do they perceive that you meet or exceed that expectation consistently?

Consistent Customer Experience

Every way in which your customers touch your brand must be consistent.

From a first-time purchase to repeat buying, from customer service issues to interactions on social media, every aspect of the customer’s journey must be a continuous, positive experience.

Providing a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints in our multi-channel, multi-touch world is more challenging than ever.

Companies that succeed at this herculean task of consistency throughout the customer’s journey, however, win market share from their less adept competitors and cultivate legions of loyal customers.

The Hidden Power of Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are some of the oldest stories in existence. In one form or another, these stories have been told time and time again—admittedly to entertain, but also to teach.

The details vary from culture to culture—Europe gave us Hansel and Gretel using their wits to get away from a ravenous witch, whereas Brer Rabbit and his tricky antics originate in the antebellum American South—but the underlying messages remain the same: there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome if we’re smart, steadfast, and not above being strategically committed to objective truths.

Why Fairy Tales Are Important

Fairy tales are, at their core, heightened portrayals of human nature that reveal, as the glare of injury and illness does, the underbelly of humanity. Both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic. And, the terrifying things that go bump in the night are what doctors treat at 3 a.m. in emergency rooms. We use cultural stories to help us understand life experiences. We also use these social stories to guide our actions to better navigate what life throws at us.

Brand Lovers and their Cultural Stories

Another way to refer to fairy tales, and other old, eternal narratives, is as cultural stories. In Brand Modeling, we focus on understanding the cultural stories that influence our Brand Lovers.

Although we seldom articulate our connection to cultural stories, cultural stories connect people to their ideal selves. These are symbolic road maps we use to navigate our way through life; they are strategic touchstones to reference as we move forward from where we are to where we want to be.

Cultural stories provide the framework we see ourselves in—as individuals and in relationship to others. This is where cultural stories guide purchasing behavior.

What are the stories that most influence your Brand Lovers?

Metrics Don’t Always Matter

Fixating on metrics often ends up conflating measurement with progress

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.W. Edwards Deming

Businesses have become obsessed with metrics. More metrics are treated as producing greater the results. And, the better the metrics, the better the results.

This metric fixation is the byproduct of an unhealthy obsession with outcomes—the movement of a nonexistent needle—that ends up conflating measurement with progress.

To serve the desired outcome, metrics often become as manipulated as the quote that opened this blog: one of the most widely used quotes in favor of the metric mentality was never written by Deming. In fact, Deming wrote quite the opposite: “It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it—a costly myth.”1

It’s not that metrics aren’t important. The problem occurs when businesses obsess about outcomes.

This outcome obsession has resulted in measuring the what and often ignoring the why and how. As Deming writes, “A numerical goal accomplishes nothing….What counts is the method—by what method?…If you can accomplish a goal without a method, then why were you not doing it last year?”2

Outcomes are byproducts of methods operating in complex systems. An improved outcome doesn’t necessarily indicate that the complex system is functioning. By just looking at an outcome, a broken system could appear to be functioning properly.

Without understanding the why and how, disaster can be lurking around the corner or a business may not be actually taking full advantage of its potential capabilities. The systems and methods that produce the outcomes are what really need to be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively, not just the outcomes.

An evaluation must look at the whole picture rather than an arbitrary outcome—much less a single outcome.

Are you paying too much attention to the outcome and not the systems and methods?


3 Questions Great Leaders Ask

When you care about your staff and their contributions, they will reward you with a genuine effort in making the company vision a reality.

Great leaders know that everyone wants to be a part of creating the vision. Keep your team involved and motivated by asking these three questions.

1. “How are things going?”

[Managers] do not talk to their subordinates about their problems, but they know how to make the subordinates talk about theirs.Peter Drucker1

Drucker’s quote is a great reminder that a leader’s role is to help their staff succeed.

You don’t have to wait for the annual review to check in with your team. Asking “How are things going?” is an excellent way to keep staff engaged and working together. Inquiring about their task at hand, their progress on a project, or about their career path. Frequent in-the-moment feedback will help everyone know their contributions are critical to achieving the vision.

2. “What do you think?”

Your job, as a manager, is to get better outcomes from a group of people working togetherJulie Zhuo2

Help your team dig deeper by asking them what they think. Being a leader is not about having all the right answers. Leadership is about facilitating others to find a solution.

Try to reach out to all your staff, not just outspoken team members. Everyone has an idea of how to achieve the vision. Listen and share those ideas with all your team members. You will be surprised how team members can inspire each other.

3. “How can I help you?”

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”Martin Luther King, Jr.3

King’s famous quote is correct in every aspect of life. Don’t wait for issues to come to you. Ask those around you how you can lend a hand. Then, follow through with action: make sure tasks are done, work side-by-side with your staff, and become their biggest cheerleader—especially when big projects are due.

When you care about your staff and their contributions, they will reward you with a genuine effort in making the company vision a reality.