By Wendy Riches
As a big fan of marketing guru Seth Godin, I recently read his newest book Linchpin and wanted to share some real life stories about Linchpins I’ve discovered in my own life.
What’s a Linchpin?
“A Linchpin is someone who can walk into a room and create order out of chaos. They are special people who view the world differently and who may or may not have the title applicable to the value they bring.”
“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, … to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”
Godin insists we can all become Linchpins, but “if you have a job where you wait around for someone to tell you what to do next, you’re giving up the chance to create value. There is plenty of evidence, however, that creative workers, problem solvers, those who can lead customers and inspire staff are on the path to becoming linchpins”.
Here’s a sampling of three people I think are Linchpins.
When Ben arrived, he was the youngest VP to date and had boundless energy, despite having four children and never getting enough sleep! We all thought he was a bit crazy, trying to institute new media channels into the marketing activities of a very staid, traditional company. But low and behold, with persistence, he was able to start and manage an active and successful Facebook page and Twitter account for the company, among other things. This may not seem like a big deal today, but this was well before many companies even knew what Twitter was, and today, Polygon appeals to a broader range of customers, as it has helped make their brand much more relevant.
2. Cashier – Oak & King Ed Safeway.
You might not think that someone who works a till at a grocery store could become a Linchpin. But one particular cashier always enhances my experience there. An example: I was buying meatballs, and he mentioned that they also carry meatballs from their healthier line that come without sauce (it’s like he read my mind, as that’s what I was looking for). Then he proceeded to tell me how I could make a quick and easy dinner with meatballs simply by adding a few other ingredients. He managed to process my order at the same time without holding up the line, and all with a genuine smile. Imagine the value he is adding to his company. I must let his manager know!
3. Jennifer – Owner of Jump! Gymnastics.
When Jennifer set out to open a kids’ gymnastics facility in downtown Vancouver, many people thought she was nuts. How many families could possibly live downtown (or nearby) who were willing to pay a premium for a “boutique” children’s program? With rents higher than anywhere in Canada, and a year- long search for the right location, so many of us would have quit before we started. But Jennifer believed in her philosophy of “sport for life” so passionately that she persisted, and two years later has filled to capacity one of the most successful and sought-after programs in the city.
Who do you know from your daily life who you think is a Linchpin?