What is a linchpin? Dictionary defines linchpin as – A locking pin inserted in the end of a shaft, as in an axle, to prevent a wheel from slipping off.
Seth Godin has titled his new book as Linchpin (referring to a person). Who are Linchpins? Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they’re indispensable.
These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos.
Our contributor Ambal Balakrishnan recently invited Seth Godin to discuss his new book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and to share his insights with the visitors of her blog. Now, Ambal shares them with us too.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on creating ‘Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?’
Seth Godin: The world has changed, fundamentally and perhaps forever. The era of the factory is over. And so people are in pain.
They’re in pain because they were trained to be compliant cogs in a factory, not independent artists focused on inventing new ideas and making a difference. And that pain feels unfair, because we did as we were told.
The book is a clarion call that it’s okay to be the genius you were born to be.
Ambal: Please walk us through the book writing life-cycle from concept to launch?
Seth Godin: It’s different every time, because I don’t set out to write a book. Usually an idea infects me. Sometimes I write the whole book in 20 days (The Dip and Unleashing the Ideavirus each took less) and sometimes it takes a year of wrestling to work it out.
Ambal: Who is ‘Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?’ addressed towards?
Seth Godin: It’s addressed to people who want to keep their job, who want to leave their job, who want to run a company and most of all, to people who want to make a difference and do work that matters.
Ambal: Name 3-5 of your favorite Linchpins? What are they defining traits?
Seth Godin: How about Shepard Fairey, the artist, Jonathan Ive at Apple and that incredibly kind person I met at the Delta counter in Utah last week.
In each case, they don’t follow a manual, instead, they make a connection and change the people they work with. They are artists, even though they don’t necessarily work with paint.
Ambal: How can organizations help nourish Linchpins?
Seth Godin: Understand that talented people are either going to do great work if you let them, or leave.
So create enough space for people to own their output, to be generous, to feel respected and to show respect.
Ambal: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from your book?
Seth Godin: Only one: you have the opportunity to make a choice, right now. Choose to do work that matters, to make a difference, to be an artist.
Ambal: Your books, speaking sessions and blog posts are a great testimonial to your “Power of Noticing/Observing”. How can our blog readers hone this skill?
Seth Godin: They should start their own blogs. It’s a gift to be able to do this, and they should.
Ambal: Please recommend 3-5 resources (must read books, blogs for marketers in 2010).
Seth Godin: Please read the entire works of Jackie Huba, Guy Kawasaki and Tom Peters. That will be a great start.
Ambal: What kind of projects (both personal and professional) are you involved in when you are not marketing, blogging, speaking?
Seth Godin: I run Squidoo.com with some very talented people. And I get distracted by just about anything!
Check out the video interviews Ambal, who is one of the new contributors to this blog, posted on her blog (below the post).
Ambal Balakrishnan is the co-founder of US-based ClickDocuments. Ambal’s book “Content Marketing Tweet: 140 Bite-sized Ideas to Create and Market Compelling Content” will be published in Spring 2010. She is specialized in content marketing, social media marketing, B2B marketing and much more. You can connect with Ambal on Twitter here.
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