Business guru Seth Godin has carved a unique niche for himself.
The author of an average of a book a year and one of the most visited bloggers on the entire Internet, Godin’s conversational works about how organizations can add value and how individuals can push through the difficult part of projects have generated widespread attention, if not universal acceptance.
In Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Godin continues his focus on the reader by looking at the qualities that lead people to be considered irreplaceable by their employers.
The short answer is they lead and solve problems.
They do not look for maps to tell them what to do. They do not seek to fit in. And they do not wait to be recognized.
Instead, linchpins operate from a position of generosity, which they combine with humility and humanity.
There are different kind of linchpins. Some are the people who never say No and always find a way to make the situation work. Others are those who say No because they are focused on bringing their unique contribution forward and convince their employers that the wait is worthwhile.
But the larger point Godin makes is that each person has that capability within us.
The bad news is that much of our schooling and work culture works against people acting like linchpins and toward behaving like replaceable cogs.
Along with this is the biological resistance-Godin calls it the “lizard brain”-that we have that makes it hard to move in these directions.
The good news is that both can be overcome. Godin drops in examples of people who act in this way throughout the book and encourages the reader to join those ranks.
Godin also includes a helpful and lightly annotated bibliography at the end of the book. Readers of this blog are likely to see some of them discussed here.
This was my first Godin book, but will likely not be my last. While painful at moments to read about the many ways I have fallen short in this area, this book is a prod and a guide on how to improve.