Linchpin: What you need to know about the art of being indispensable

first_imgSeth Godin has a new book out, and Linchpin has me thinking about my work, indispensable colleagues and how to be truly valuable to my cause in entirely new ways. It is the most motivating book I’ve read in a long while. And, in a nice bonus, it includes a picture of my colleague Charles Ball at Network for Good in the inside cover, where there is a hall of fame of linchpins.As Seth Godin is gifted at doing, he puts his finger on some vital truths that we all may have sensed at certain moments but that haven’t been able to grap on a conscious level, articulate fully or act upon. If you are someone in a hurry to do good in this world, read this book because it will encourage you to pursue that goal in a way that makes a far bigger difference for you, your organization and the world. It will help you break out of the email inbox, the fear of failure and the spinning of wheels and galvanize you to pursue your genius instincts. In short, it’s a good kick in the butt and shot of bravery for the start of the new year.Here are some key ideas from the book:1. The people of greatest value in this economy and to your organization are linchpins. A linchpin is a person who walks into chaos, creates order and invents, connects, creates and makes things happen. People who work automatically, by rote and define what is and is not their job are disposable.2. The “makes things happen” part of being a linchpin is critical. It’s not enough to be an artiste. Or a genius. You actually have to produce and deliver. The difference between a successful artist and a failed one is what happens after the idea is hatched. The difference is the race to completion. Don’t just be an idea person. Be an implement-the-idea-fast person. As Seth says (and I love this):Wait! Are you saying that I have to be someone who dreams up new ideas AND makes them real? Someone who finds new ways to interact, new pathways to deliver emotion, new ways to connect? Someone who acts like a human, not a cog? Yes.3. Do all of this in a generous way. Don’t be a linchpin with an eye toward getting but rather with a mindset of giving. Approach your work as if you were giving the gift of yourself each day. Approach your customers (or donors!) with gratitude in your heart rather than dollars signs in your eyes.Number three is so important to our sector. Seth says there are three ways to think about gifts:1) Give me a gift!2) Here’s a gift. Now you owe me, big time.3) Here’s a gift, I love you.Stick to #3. It’s good for your career, it’s good for your organization and it’s good for the greater good.Thank you, Seth, for reminding us of how important it is – especially for those of us working for good causes – to approach our work with vigor, rigor and generosity!last_img

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