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?
Once 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.
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?