Applying Seth Godin’s Linchpin Theory to Your Career

Seth Godin helped popularized the change in perception of what we call linchpin in relation to business; it was through his book of the same name that he details that a linchpin is an individual within an organization that’s indispensable.

“A linchpin is the essential element, the person who holds part of the operation together. Without the linchpin, the thing falls apart”, as he has said in an interview with Mashable.

Being the linchpin isn’t just toiling away at the midnight hour by staying extra late. There are many qualities of this type of individual that makes them who they are besides sacrificing themselves to the long hours:

·  Having flexibility to work on various projects and lend aid to others in the business

·  Introducing thoughts and solutions to business problems

·  Being a team player and inspiring others around them

This is the type of individual that you will see at work that everyone knows but not just in a popular way.

The person is one that you can rely on when the going gets tough. Sometimes they may gain special treatment, compared to others, but it’s rightfully so because they keep the business moving forward.

This is the type of individual you need to become, and if you can, it’s a role that will come with many great benefits such as a streamlined path to the top, higher salary, and constant challenges to keep you sharp about your industry and its needs.

Becoming Indispensable

The first thing you must ask yourself is “how valuable am I to the business?”

·  What would happen if you left?

·  Do you think they’d scramble to get you back?

·  Who (or how many) individuals would be devastated by your departure?

The path to becoming a linchpin goes beyond being great at your one particular set of work-related tasks; it’s keeping an open mind to learning new skills that will allow you to become extremely flexible no matter the position or if you’re sent to collaborate with other team members.

The linchpin is the type of person that says “no, let’s do this instead”. They listen to ideas and suggestions and will come back with their own rather than only being the nay-sayer. They will go out of their way to experiment and implement their ideas to show the value of their suggestions and stick to their decisions even in the face of scrutiny. They are thought leaders instead of followers.

The person pours everything they can into their work and treats it like an extension of their being. It’s not about the long hours but how passionate you are with what you do.

Finally, everything needs to be seen as a stepping stone toward bigger and better goals and experiences. A task delegated to you that you’re unsure you can accomplish? Accept it anyway and use it as a learning opportunity, and a moment to show how dedicated you are to your craft.

Overcoming Stagnation

There is a point, however, when you need to realize whether you’ve reached your potential at the business and when it’s time to move on because it’s vital to your success that you are continually challenged and given new opportunities to show your worth … even if it’s from a powerful position.

You can’t slow down once you feel comfortable. For example, Steven MacMillan began work with Proctor & Gamble, moved up to Johnson & Johnson, but instead of becoming stagnant, he made a move to Stryker as their chief executive officer. Sheryl Sandburg took similar initiative when she moved from Google to become Facebook’s chief operations officer.

You may not work for these mega companies but it doesn’t matter, anyway, because what you choose to do is most beneficial to you. You must be the type of person that doesn’t want to just survive within their workplace but thrive and push it to the next level. Businesses hire you on to help them make money but you have to be aware of what you gain with each step up the ladder … the ability to learn new skills and networking with ever-increasing powerful people which will allow you to break through the glass-ceiling you’ll eventually hit in a position.

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