Impossibly Good

by  Mike Henry  |  Reviews

Linchpin is a fairly important recent book by Seth Godin.  Most of the concepts in the book aren’t new and have been presented in many other books including The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn.  Many times the way the author makes a point or the current state of the economy may serve to add impact to a particular idea.  The reminders and the new (at least to me) ideas make the book a good reminder why it’s important to work toward indispensability. It’s particularly well written and served up in small sections, this time with chapter breaks, making it very easy to read.  The real leadership benefit comes from digesting the book; reflecting and thinking about the concepts and applying them diligently to your life.  (That’s why we have a live conference call every Wednesday at 5 PM Eastern to discuss topics from the book.  You can find out more here.)

Can you become indispensable?

The main point of the third chapter, entitled Thinking About Your Choice, becoming indispensable is a choice.  In a small section on page 33, Godin asks what was for me a new question, “What would make you impossibly good at your job?”

If your organization wanted to replace you with someone far better at your job than you, what would they look for?

LinchpinOnce you’re in a position, your leadership wouldn’t go for someone with more experience or someone who could score better on some standardized test.  They’ve already made that choice.  Instead, they would prefer someone who brought more energy to the job; “someone more human, connected and mature… with passion and energy… flexible in the face of change, resilient in the face of confusion.”  Your employer would prefer someone who is an artist – someone who brings passion, desire, and energy to the position.

The Key

Every characteristic your employer would want from the ideal person is attitude, not talent.  You choose attitudes.  You have everything you need!

Many times good people fall into the trap where they think that since their organization can’t give them everything they think they need, money or resources or time, they will choose a bad attitude and withold their best energy.  It could be that they think they don’t need to bring their best effort until they’re the top person.  Those are choices.

It’s your choice.

You choose your attitude.  In choosing to react to your circumstances, you give your circumstances  control over your contribution.  Why give anything the ability to control your effort or your reputation?  Bring your best energy and effort every day.  You are known by the actions you take.  Decide what type of person we will be and make the choices that align with that character.  You can be the most energetic, committed, passionate person, doing your the best job under any circumstance.  There is no better way to make the point that you’re worth more.  Even if your current employer never notices it, a better organization will.

Your choice of attitude exposes your true self.  If you are indispensable, you will demonstrate the attitude and create the results.  Words won’t be necessary.  Examine your attitude and make your choice.  And share the results with others.  Our world and your organization needs more Linchpins.  Will you make the choice?

What’s Next? Please leave a comment below to join the conversation…

About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Bear Files  |  20 May 2010  |  Reply

Mike, fantastic post! I haven’t read Seth’s book (it sounds great), but I love the point you highlighted about how we should all consider what our employer, or client for us self-employed folks, would look for if they were considering replacing us. Very thought provoking.

Mike Henry  |  21 May 2010  |  Reply

It made me think, and some days that’s hard! But I was challenged by the fact that the answer came to attitudes rather than skills. We have the ability to be more valuable without going to a training class or getting some additional degree. Just change our attitudes. Easier said than done, but definitely within my power to do. Mike…

Kapil  |  21 May 2010  |  Reply

Mike, Great Post ! As soon as I read it I Retweeted it, as I personally believe in this that if you have the attitude you can do and change anything, even if its outside skill sets. As far as Talent is concerned I think we all develop the abilities over a period of time no matter what it is. Its just how we look at it and how we approach to it and how we think to achieve it. Thanks for this post.


Mike Henry  |  21 May 2010  |  Reply

Thanks for the comment. When we change our attitude about something, we do change our abilities related to it and how we let it affect us. Mike…

Nita  |  21 May 2010  |  Reply

Great Post, Mike… Thanks for the reminder to focus on attitude instead of talent. Attitude is contagious but talent, not so much!

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach  |  21 May 2010  |  Reply

Bring it on Mike. Terrific post.

Love the phrase “What would make you impossibly good at your job?” much better than indispensable — which is never true since business is always changing. Attitude is the difference.

In fact, the one attitude that makes every person incredibly valuable to the employer is openness and commitment to growth/change.

Just yesterday I tweeted a link of a recent study showing CEOs are looking for ONE quality in the leaders they hire — creativity! Which basically means thinking of how to change things.

I will RT your post for sure. It is current, timely, and a great breath of air for everyone to think and do!
.-= Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach´s last blog ..5 Things to Think With Rude Customers for Best Results =-.

tim  |  26 May 2010  |  Reply

Love Linchpin. Another great question that I have on a post-it next to my desk is this one: What happens if you don’t do your job well?

If the answer is “nothing” than I have some work to do.

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