Become Remarkable

Linchpin is a powerful call to everyone to bring their best talents to the table. Seth Godin says every one of us born into genius. If a genius is someone who has found something which others are struggling with then you have been one at some point in life. No one is a genius all the time. Einstein had trouble finding his house when he walked home from work every day.
His plea is what we want are indispensable human beings. We need original thinkers, provocateurs, and people who care. Every organization needs a linchpin, the one person who can bring it together and make a difference.  Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection or a new way of getting things done.
In the factory era the goal was to have the highest PERL (Percentage of Easily replaced Laborers). If you can easily replace most of your workers then you can pay them less. The less they make the more money you make. If you build a business that is filled with rules and procedures then you will produce a product without any emotional connection. This leads a race to the bottom but indispensable businesses race to the top.
The new American dream is to be generous, be remarkable, create art, make judgement calls, and connect people and ideas. If you do this successfully the reward is waiting. He also says schools should teach only two things 1. Solve Interesting problems and 2. Lead.
A brilliant author or business leader or software programmer is good only in bursts and they are not being remarkable all the time. Depth of knowledge combined with good judgement is worth a lot.
The only way to succeed in the current economy is to be remarkable, to be talked about. The only way to do this is to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable and to produce interactions that people care about.
“Emotional labor” was a term first coined by sociologist Art Hochschild forty years ago. She described it as the “management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display.” It is work you do with feelings. It is the hard work of making art, producing generosity and exposing creativity. Emotional labor is what you are paid to do.  Your job is a platform for generosity, expression, art. In fact as I see it we have to see our jobs as crafts and produce work or art that matters. Art doesn't necessarily mean paintings or sculptures. Whatever we produce is art.
He also makes a case that you don’t need a resume if you have the following
  • Three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects
  • A sophisticated project an employer can see or touch
  • A reputation that precedes you
  • A blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow-up with you
Author Richard Florida polled twenty thousand creative professionals and gave them a choice of thirty-eight factors that motivated them to do their best at work. The top ten are challenge and responsibility, flexibility, a stable work environment, money, professional development, peer recognition, stimulating colleagues and bosses, exciting job content, organizational culture, location and community. Only one of those factors is extrinsic.
There is also a long chapter on resistance which explains why we don’t complete projects and get stuck. He says to overcome this is you need to thrash a lot at the start, because starting means that you are going to finish.  If you want to produce things on time and on budget, all you have to do is work until you run out of time or run out of money. Then ship. No room for stalling or excuses or the resistance. On ship date, it’s gone.  As Steve Jobs famously said “Real Artists Ship.”
Finally he provides the following seven abilities of a linchpin
  1. Providing a unique interface between members of the organization
  2. Delivering unique creativity
  3. Managing a situation or organization of great complexity
  4. Leading customers
  5. Inspiring staff
  6. Providing deep domain knowledge
  7. Possessing a unique talent
I have read this book countless times and it has inspired me every single time. Seth Godin makes a powerful case that everyone can become remarkable and the only way to thrive in the new world of work is to stand out and be remarkable.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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