Being the Linchpin

After a long time of hearing about the book, I am finally reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin. I avoided it for so long because it seemed as if the book was going to be explaining something I already knew: be irreplaceable. And then as I walked around career fairs for a week, I realized that recruiters aren’t hiring for irreplaceable.

They want to hire the status quo, or at least for the job description their boss gave them before heading out the door.

As I had conversations with recruiter, many of whom didn’t care what I actually accomplished in the past, I realized that they don’t want linchpins and they don’t consider themselves linchpins either. They probably already consider themselves unlucky drones who had to go stand at career fairs for hours on end when their company is only hiring two positions. Eager students ready to work probably exhaust them instead of inspire them.

So it got me thinking: it isn’t just about an individual being irreplaceable, but a company being a linchpin. That’s probably why so many startups embraced Godin’s book. You want to be the company that changes the game and everyone needs to start relying on.

It’s tough to want to be relied on, especially because it means you then have to deliver. There’s a lot of pressure with that, and I wonder if sometimes that’s why some non-profits have issues with being a linchpin themselves. If they are the one answer to a certain issue, why do they end up being like doormats? Is it because we don’t like asking for things and don’t feel we have a right to ask? I know I am making a generalization, but we all know people and organizations just like this. The doormat.

So if you are going to have a mission, for yourself or your organization, strive to be irreplaceable. I’ll keep reading the book and maybe we’ll both learn how to do that.

Category(s): Professional Development
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