Seth Godin’s 2010 book ‘Linchpin’ is a great read.
Like most of Seth’s stuff it’s simple, elegant and backed by solid evidence.
The premise is:
“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. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.”
Which is great.
For some of you being a linchpin is the most dangerous position to be in.
If you’re an employee being a linchpin is essential to getting ahead. If you’re prepared to invest your best ideas and energy into your employer then you will be better paid and get better jobs (providing you work for the right employer).
Employees need a healthy amount of ego to claim credit and be rewarded but not too much to overestimate their value to an organisation.
If it’s your business then making yourself the linchpin is the road to frustration.
If you make yourself the ‘hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axis’ then you can never step away, never truly delegate and never really relax.
I talk to many business owners who talk about selling ‘in 5 years’. The problem is they are the business. All the expertise is locked up in their heads and they know where the bodies are buried. When the time comes to sell the buyers who come along recognise this and either walk away or aren’t prepared to pay the price the owner ‘needs’.
They are stuck.
Stuck in a business they don’t want to be in anymore and stuck without anyone to grow the business when they aren’t there.
They need to stop being the linchpin now.
As a business owner I overcome these challenges by making systems my linchpin.
While I maintain complete strategic control I have technology and people that deliver business goals.
When I perform a task or deliver something I seek to understand how to deliver that through technology or a process.
It mean’s my energy is preserved to solve problems for my client’s and helping them make decisions.
Right now I am still fundamentally a linchpin but I am working not to be.
This will create more value for my clients, my team and ultimately me.
Are you a linchpin?
Do you need to be?
What growth and operational systems can you build that replace you?
Be one by design, not by accident.