Seth Godin has an excellent new book titled Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? I believe it will be life-changing for many people, it certainly has been for me. It's an impassioned manifesto about how to become indispensable. If you are a Linchpin you can't possibly be overlooked, underpaid, dismissed or downsized.
In my opinion, it's his most personal book to date. He cracks a window into how he’s achieved 11 best-selling books in 11 years, how he has become the world's most influential business blogger and how he built one of the Internet’s top-100 websites(Squidoo.com) A fantastic read, I wholeheartedly recommend!
I wanted to briefly mention someone who so personifies what a Linchpin is; his story is well worth telling. He is a top engineer at the Boeing Company, named Ted. His motto has always been to go looking for a new project every Monday morning.
He goes after the toughest, nastiest, problems the company has. He knows if he can work on, and solve those problems, he becomes a Linchpin. No company can dismiss or underpay the key to their most difficult problems.
He's the only person that can sit in a room filled with Pentagon Air-Force generals and call them out on their BS and get away with it. His reputation is that he addresses the facts and artfully winds around the ego problems that thwart many projects. When billion-dollar programs are in shambles, it is he they call upon because they know he can get it back-on-track to ship.
He might be the only person in the world, who has climbed aboard to work on both the Space Shuttle and Air Force One. When NASA had their accident in 2003, he was one of the people that got it back in flight. So much a key in fact that he made the front-page of the largest newspaper in Kansas (Wichita Eagle) as being the aging materials shuttle scientist that helped NASA get back in the air. (When was the last time you saw an engineer on the front-page of anything.)
The sheer number of programs he is currently involved in are so big and complex that one of the top level Boeing managers from outside Wichita couldn't believe one person could be the linchpin for so many high-profile programs at once. So on a trip into Wichita he stopped by Ted's office to see for himself, ..and he left an astounded believer.
Ted says this about how he does, what he does. “I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I know. Their names are What & Why and When and How and Where and Who” (He's quoting the famous Rudyard Kipling poem.) Ted asks more questions than anyone - a lot more! Some projects totaling into the thousands.
He knows that if he asks enough questions, he can identify the true goal of the project and properly assemble a plan to achieve it. By taking this extra time at the beginning, it ensures the destination is correct. In the Linchpin book, Seth refers to this as “thrashing-early.”
I am always inspired and in awe of what he does. I strive to clear the bar he has set; although I rarely can even hit my head on it. It also turns out that I'm lucky enough to call Ted Bates, ..my Dad.
Notes: If I listed all the things he does the story starts to become unbelievable, but I did want to mention one more thing. My Dad also writes an 11-plus page Newsletter every week about our family’s current events and history. He's been at it over 6 years now totaling some 3,500 pages already and has never missed a week. email: ted.bates (at) cox.net