Lizard Brains and Linchpins

Bob Tarne, PMP, CSM is an accomplished consultant, speaker, and writer. He is currently an Engagement Manager with IBM as well as an active volunteer with the Project Management Institute. His blog can be found at zen-pm.blogspot.com.

The latest book from best-selling author Seth Godin takes a look at how individuals can make a difference in their organizations. Here’s an overview of “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” — and how project managers might begin to apply its core ideas.

Seth Godin has written a number of books in his career. Most focus on topics related to marketing and product development. His new book is different — “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” looks at how individuals can become indispensable in their workplace, regardless of whether you're a marketer, an accountant, or even a project manager. 

The book's argument begins with the idea that we're all just factory workers, left over from the model that our parents or grandparents grew up with. Now, “the factory” may be an insurance company or bank rather than a place that builds something, but the idea is still the same. The new "factories" reinforce following the rules, showing up on time, and trying hard. However, that model is broken, and we can't continue to work according to it. If we're just cogs in the machinery, we can be replaced by cheaper cogs. We have to do more — we have to become linchpins. 

A linchpin is someone who brings something different to the organization, whether they create an effective interface between groups in the …

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A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

- Fred Allen

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