Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Are you indispensable?

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?


A couple of weeks ago, I read a few quotes from Linchpin by Seth Godin. The quotes totally captured my attention – and I bought the book. It is great – it got me thinking, long and hard. Most importantly – it got me moving 🙂

For the first time since, maybe university, I highlighted things and now I’m sharing them. I hope these snippets inspire you to read the book and become a linchpin.



It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map.

5 Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, will you have achieved your potential.

It’s futile to work hard at restoring the take-care-of-you bargain. The bargain is gone, and it’s not worth whining about and it’s not effective to complain. There’s a new bargain now, one that leverages talent and creativity and art more than it rewards obedience.

Do not internalize the industrial model. You are not one  of the myriad of interchangeable pieces, but a unique human being, and if you’ve got something to say., say it, and think well of yourself while you’re learning to say it better. – David Mamet

We need original thinkers, provocateurs, and people who care. We need marketers who lead, salespeople able to risk making a human connection, passionate change makers willing to be shunned if it is necessary for them to make a point.

Instead of trying to build organizations filled with human automatons, we’ve realized we must go the other way.

The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labour, to be seen as 8 indispensible, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.

..doing a job that’s not getting done is essential.

… more artistic, motivated, aware, and genuine?

The confidence to make a difference in your organisation and to do work that matters.

They need to do good work. Anything less feels intellectually dishonest, and like a waste of time.

Because everyone is a person, and people crave connection and respect.

…push so hard for a factory-like command and control system for managing and producing students?

The problem is that what we’re teaching is the wrong stuff.

Doesn’t matter if you’re always right. It matters that you’re always moving.

The law of linchpin leverage: The more value you create in your job, the fewer clock minutes of labour you actually spend creating that value.

The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.

The opposite of being a cog is being able to stop the show, at will. What will it take for you to stop the show?

We hire for perfect, we manage for perfect, we measure for perfect, and we reward for perfect.

If you cant be remarkable, perhaps you should consider doing nothing until you can.

How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects? Or a sophisticated project an employer can see or touch? Or a reputation that precedes you? Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow?

7 You are not your resume. You are your work.

If the game is designed for you to lose, don’t play that game. Play a different one.

… manages to find a way to make things happen, and she does it. Its done. Yes.

..strength to disappoint you now in order to delight you later.

If I lean enough, its okay if I get fired, because I’ll have demonstrated my value to the marketplace. If the rules are the only thing between me and becoming indispensible, I don’t need the rules.

He leans into the work, not away from it. His energy creates energy in those around him; his charisma turns into leadership.

Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal.

An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.

The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.6

…chance to do art, to create a gift, to do something that matters.

..strong streak of intellectual integrity

You don’t sell out, because selling out involves destroying the best of what you are.

…deriving their sense of self from the act of being passionate.

People with passion look for ways to make things happen.

Focus on the audience that you choose and listen to them, to the exclusion of all others.

Optimism is for artists, change agents, linchpins and winners. Whining and fear, on the other hand, are largely self- fulfilling prophecies in organisations under stress.

I think its fear, and I think we’re even afraid to talk about this sort of fear. Fear of art. Of being laughed at. Of standing out and of standing for something.

The daemon is the source of great ideas,groundbreaking insights, generosity, love, connection, and kindness.

Successful people are successful for one simple reason: they think about failure differently.

They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.

3 You become a winner because you’re good at losing.

Don’t listen to the cynics. They’re cynics for a reason.For them the resistance one a long time ago. When the resistance tells you not to listen to something, read something, or attend something, go. Do it. Its not an accident that successful people read a lot of books.

Your work is to do the work – not to do your job.Your job is about following instructions; the work is about making a diff
erence. Your work is to ship. Ship things that make change.

What does the success of your project look like?

Real gifts don’t demand reciprocation (at least not direct reciprocation), and the best kinds of gifts are gifts of art.

Artists say, “Here”.

Great bosses and world class organisations hire motivate people, set high expectations,, and give their people room to become remarkable.

And this is the challenge of becoming the linchpin. Not only must you be an artist, must you be generous, and must you be able to see where you can help, but you must also be aware. Aware of where your skills are welcomed.

“Thanks you and…”

If you want to repay it , do something difficult.

You must become indispensible to thrive in the new economy. The best ways to do that are to be remarkable, insightful, an artist, someone bearing gifts. To lead.

…doesn’t imagine the diamond he wants. Instead he sees the diamond that is possible.

If you accept that human beings are difficult to change, and embrace (rather than curse) the uniqueness that everyone brings to the table, you’ll navigate the world with more bliss and effectiveness

“Isn’t that interesting?” Learn what you can learn; then move on.

“There’s the pattern,” or “Wow, that’s interesting, I wonder why,” then you are far more likely to respond productively…

..the linchpin brings passion to the job. She knows from experience that the right effort in the right place can change the outcome, and she reserves her effort for doing just that.

…untangle them into something manageable.

..achieve this goal by giving selfless gifts, and those benefit everyone.

Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.

The linchpin is able to invent a future, fall in love with it, live in it – and then abandon it on a 4 moment’s notice.

The stressful part is the hoping.

You will fail at this. Often.

…you’ll persist, pushing through the dip.

…develop a sense of loyalty to your mission and generosity to your work.

Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability

… the individual in the organisation who collects, connects, and nurtures relationships is indispensible.

The people you work with wont change if you don’t believe. The communication of enthusiasm and connection and leadership starts with the gift you give, not with the manipulation you attempt.

Understanding that your job is to make something happen changes what you do all day.

The challenge, then, is to be the generous artist, but do it knowing that it might not work. And that’s okay.



So … what are YOU going to do right now?


I have dreamt up a few ideas, failed at some, still pursuing others. The part I struggle with is failure. And the hoping – it is stressful! I definitely need to do more thanking and giving 🙂


2 responses to “Are you indispensable?

  1. Jonathan July 17, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Nice post Sam. I’ve joked about not reading Seth Godin because he’s supposed to be such a good marketer, but now I have to stop joking and go read this!

    And what I am going to do now? I’m on my way to change the world for the better. …pretty sure I’ll see you when I get there. 😉

  2. Petrusa August 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Great post. I shall go forth and change the world! According to my dearly beloved that is what I constantly do. …the going forth bit, at least (the change-the-world bit is still not very successful). Will have to start shipping stuff. OK, I’m off to go shipping stuff now.
    Take care.
    Baai 🙂

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