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This is the third book by Seth Godin that I have read and am reviewing. This blog post focuses on the first half of the book. I pick his books because I believe his ideas are thoughtful and take into account current day technology, trends, and ideas.
Linchpin discusses how to be indispensable. Seth Godin says that to be a linchpin means that you are creating value. By focusing on creating “art” or thinking outside of the normal “shoulds” and “processes” that organizations typically stay within one can create value in a way that is outside the norm.
This reminds me of the difference between a manager and a leader. A manager stays within the “box” of what currently is and makes it better and more efficient. A leader thinks creatively about what currently is and begins to see possibilities which have never been thought of before. The leaders not only see the possibilities, but actually acts on them.
Godin says that a Linchpin does the work of “emotional labor” or creating a path when it is not laid out in front of them. He discusses making choices and creating a way when it is not created for you. I also believe this is a true hallmark of a leader as they are consistently taking risks and pushing the envelope by creating new visions and new processes that other people can then follow. It is inherently risky to create a new path than to follow the one that everyone else seems to be taking, but it is so much more fulfilling and worthy of an endeavor. When you can look back and say I took the risk and it paid off or even when it fails for you then have some lessons learned for the next time that you take a risk!
The third thing that Linchpin discusses is the “resistance factor”. He says that people have the rational mind and the “lizard mind” or the emotional mind which feels fear and anxiety and constantly wants to bring you back to doing things that you are comfortable with. In my mind true leaders feel the resistance and do it anyway. They take the risk. They know that they will fail sometimes, and that not all of their ideas will be brilliant, but they still take chances. For not to do it and stay small takes so much more work.
So are you willing to stand up and create your own vision and path? Are you willing to feel the resistance and do it regardless? Are you willing to be a linchpin?
To be a leader can be learned, but it takes implementing some of these lessons step by step. The more you practice these steps the easier they get!
Monica Thakrar has over 14 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.