Forward Motion Linchpin Style

Last time you were here we talked about momentum and how to build it into your business. Then by pure chance I started reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin and came across this passage.

Imagine an organisation with an employee who can accurately see the truth, understand the situation, and understand the potential outcome of various decisions. And now imagine that this person is also able to make something happen…..This is our marketer, our leader, our linchpin. She creates forward motion.

Wow. She sounds like the very person we’ve been looking for.

Of course she is you and me and all of us potentially.

This is what Seth Godin is about. He wants his readers to break out of the 9-5 mindset, of simply showing up and taking the pay cheque, embracing instead a new reality in which your ideas matter and leadership can be learned by all.

 As freelancers or small business owners, most of us are already there. You don’t get new clients by simply showing up at your desk every day, especially if your desk is at home! Solopreneurs already have to be the marketer and the thought leader. We must be our own linchpins or the whole thing would collapse.

So I am enjoying Seth Godin’s ideas, but I have a problem with his appraisal of today’s economy. He reckons that only those who give exceptional value will prevail and that the market is too tight to carry dead weights.

 Perhaps that’s the case on paper but I  know of big organisations like the BBC where people are trapped in jobs that don’t fulfill them but they are not getting swept away just yet. They keep showing up for work despite the fact that there’s no room to progress and gradually the desire to be exceptional gets whittled away. If they leave they may struggle to get going again, so they stay and block the beds.

 Big rounds of voluntary redundancies don’t shift them, in fact that often ends up getting rid of people who have the nous to get other jobs as linchpins elsewhere and compulsory redundancies get rid of the good and the bad alike.

Seth Godin makes it sound as though the forward motion in the market will clear out all this dead wood leaving only those who are invaluable linchpins but even if the axe fell fairly, he fails to explain how the world would work if everyone spent their time seizing the initiative rather than actually making/servicing things.

He has a quasi Marxist analysis of our education system which he describes as a factory system for turning out obedient workers and what’s not to like about the idea that education should be about teaching us to think for oursleves but at one point he admits that a liberal education is really only for the middle classes- so not much equality there. 

His Linchpin world is a curious one in which we all have the right to be exceptional but it’s no-ones job to makes the tea.

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