Are you a linchpin? Do you know what a linchpin is? In engineering terms a linchpin is a pin passed through the end of an axle to stop the wheel from falling off (so a pretty important item). But more recently the term has grown to relate to other important items. The Cambridge dictionary describes one definition as this:
"The most important member of a group or part of a system, that holds together the other members or parts or makes it possible for them to operate as intended"
In his book "Linchpin", Seth Godin very passionately explains why he thinks we should all become linchpins and to an extent I agree. I definitely agree with his ideas about attitude and mindset particularly the idea that we should all be striving to learn, progress, develop and achieve our potential. I think a lot of his ideas resonate with the general message I try to convey via all my blog posts.
In Essence it boils down to this:
However I also found some parts of Linchpin could have been a lot better. Maybe it relates to the fact that this book is 10 years old and was in some ways ahead of its time so some of the content has been developed more over the intervening time, but I personally felt that linchpin was really lacking in much concrete actionable content. The idea is a good one, but it really could have been more useful if the book included more about "How to become a linchpin" rather than just why. Godin pre-empts this criticism stating that "being a linchpin is really very much like being an artist, and you can't teach that". Personally I disagree, because you may not be able to give someone a cribsheet for how to have artistic vision, but you can at least instruct them how to mix paints and hold brushes etc. and then they can make the other connections for themselves.
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book. I think a lot of people could benefit from it. Particularly the first and the last sections, but a good proportion of the middle section felt like it gave very little.
Pretty much the only concrete idea that the book contains is Godin's list of 7 qualities that a linchpin may contain which make them indispensable:
1) Providing a unique interface between members of the organization
2) Delivering unique creativity
3) Managing a situation or organization of great complexity
4) Leading customers
5) Inspiring staff
6) Providing deep domain knowledge
7) Possessing a unique talent
You don't have to have all of these qualities, but if you can develop yourself to excel in a few then you should have a good chance of doing well.
If you would like to get linchpin for yourself and find out more about this concept you can get it here:
Dr Chris Harper