Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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For anyone who feels trapped in a labyrinth of tradition, this book is compass, map and sledgehammer (BUSINESS DESTINATIONS, February 10)
Timely new book from US bestselling author, Seth Godin whose previous books include Purple Cow, The Dip and Tribes.See all Product description
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It's pretty good though if you're a blogger and like to talk colourful and emotional. So that's a +1.
It's no longer enough to be a loyal and hard-working employee; you're still replaceable. This book highlights who companies really need and how you can become indespensible. In addition to keeping your job, you'll find your work more challenging and enjoyable.
The book provides many successful examples of linchpins at (American) companies, such as Google, Zappa, Ideo, etc. What if you work at at ordinary (non-tech) British company, can you still become a linchpin?
I think so, if you have the right attitude AND your employer/manager isn't excessively bureaucratic. (Seth argues that it isn't employers with the problem, but our own resistance and fear of change.)
The book was published in 2010 when the greatest threat to employment was globalisation; I believe the bigger threat (including to professionals) is now A.I. and robotics.
4 stars as the book could probably get the message across in fewer pages and have more international examples.
It's elegantly written, solidly constructed, and as the title said, by reading through, it helped me to reframe my attitude, and now I am a Linchpin at work - and I am loving every moment.
This also helped me to realise I was a diamond-in-the-rough but natural networker, and helped me to tap into using the networking skills to bring about faster completions of projects, listen and ~learn~ more about things that were about to happen, and see the signs and take action to minimize any issues before they hit other people's radar! This is something that only improves in time - I've even been asked once if I can see the future. (And no, I cannot!)
This book is amazing. What else can I say, except if you don't buy it, add it to your wishlist, and buy it when you can.
In terms of the content, I found myself agreeing with most of it, particularly talk of resistance. It can be summarised as "you can either try to be the best you can be or you can just fit in". That's it really. What the author does not go into is the problem of how few companies can cope with people who push to be really good, who do creative stuff and work slightly outside the box. Many companies (or middle or junior managers at least) want people who do what they are told, nothing more, nothing less, and who just keep their heads down. That might not be what the executives want, but lower levels of management often do. So, if you are one of those people who push to do things better, to create more, to deliver more, to improve quality and performance, then you may just have to start your own company or try working for a number of companies before you find one where your efforts are appreciated. Sad, but true - in the UK at least.
I do also have a couple of issues with the idea of making yourself indispensible. From the employer's point of view, anybody indispensible represents key-person risk. Allowing anybody to become indispensible is a mistake on the employer's part. Employers may take different actions when they realise that somebody is becoming indispensible. The drastic one is to get rid of the person before it is too late, the less drastic is to ensure that skills and knowledge are shared so that the person does not become indispensible. From the employee's point of view, if the employee has loyalty to his/her employer or colleagues then the employee should recognise when this key-person risk is developing and try to ensure that action is taken to reduce it. As a contractor, I believe that one of my responsibilities is to ensure that when I move from one contract to another, my previous client is able to continue without too much impact. Whether that is by documenting in great detail the many things I do, by training other people to do those same things, or by a combination of methods, I believe making myself indispensible is wrong, despite understanding why from a job security angle some people would want to. However, making myself the best I can be is right.
So, I think the title could be changed - are you the best you can be, rather than are you indispensible. And I would say, read this book rather than listen to it. But otherwise, it is pretty good, if not great.
Seth asks you to become an artist as he puts it. This is not art in the sense of creating pieces of art but rather about how you deliver something of yourself to any situation and particularly within the sphere of your job or career.
Even in the most mundane of jobs Seth asks that we fully embrace what we do and through this we become that essential person who somehow makes the system work smoothly.
Like many similar books of this type it is certainly one that makes you think and reconsider your outlook upon life and in particular what you do as either a job, career, or in any voluntary work. Whether or not you can transform your self into a Linchpin or not, then the book certainly traces the history or various employer/worker relationships and this aspect of the book alone can be very enlightening.