We all have been in a situation where we needed “a guy” (or gal) – someone with understanding and expertise about the problem we’re facing. It may be that you needed a referral for a plumber, a jeweler or a person to help you with a home repair, but in the end, what you want is someone you can trust to tell you about a subject about which you know little.

And if that subject is selling a bowling alley, Rusty is your guy. Rusty serves as a “volunteer bowling consultant” – acting as the middleman between small alleys in the Midwest. Just hearing about someone with such passion makes me smile. He relies on the knowledge he amassed in his career as an alley owner to connect other owners with people who are selling equipment or need parts for their aging machines. He freely shares his expertise, acting as more of a matchmaker than an entrepreneur.

My friend recently was connected with Rusty as her family prepared to sell the alley her father owned. When the buyer planned to convert the building to another use, Rusty guided her to know what was valuable (the oilers!) and what was not (pins, balls and shoes). He easily pointed them in the direction of the best auction site and gave the family estimates on what pieces were worth. All gratis, because of his love of the game and his desire to keep bowling alive in the small communities.

Where can you serve as a “volunteer consultant”? Rusty has the corner on bowling alley equipment but surely you have invaluable knowledge about something: how to quilt, what tactics to use on eBay, how to train a puppy, where to find a CSA farm share program or another of a trillion niches that exist. Be like Rusty and freely serve as that middleman to connect others with what they need to know about what you love.

Thanks, Amy!

A bowling lane oiler

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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