A Lesson on Service from The Dark Knight

By: Shama Hyder

*If you haven’t seen the new Batman movie-this contains a spoiler. Just bookmark this post and come back to it after you have seen the film. The film definitely worth watching!*

In the movie, the idea of a hero is highly debated. What makes for a hero? Is it someone who places humankind on a pedestal of good…only to be easily thwarted by one betrayal? Is it someone who walks the line no matter what? Or…is it someone who becomes whatever the people need him (or her) to become?

In the last scene of the movie, Batman takes the blame for a few dead officers and lets the cops chase him. The chief inspector and his young son are the only two people who know of his innocence. As Batman runs, the little boy inquires (paraphrased): “Why is Batman running daddy? He didn’t do anything wrong.” To which his father replies, “Because we have to chase him son.”

The ultimate moral of the story: A real hero is not always loved. Sometimes he is hated. But, he always sticks to what people NEED.

This got me thinking about professional service providers-consultants, coaches, anyone who has the responsibility of helping a person or a company. The key is to help people-even if you aren’t perceived as the good guy. You just have to be what they NEED-not what they think they need or want. In the end, they will thank you.

A while back, I was speaking to a prospect (later client) who wanted me to help them launch and market a new service. It was obvious that they were very excited about the service, but I knew it wouldn’t make it. The moment critics saw it, they would tear it apart. I had a few options. 1) take the project knowing it would tank or 2) tell them the honest truth-and perhaps how to fix the model.

I opted for 2. I knew this was what they needed. At first, they were appalled. This was their blood, sweat, and brainpower all rolled into one! But then, they decided to heed our recommendations. The project is now well on it’s way to being a success. But this story isn’t about success, it’s about having the courage to see things as they are and being honest about them.

They may hate you and/or your ideas, but giving them what they need always trumps being a yes man or woman.

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