Skandia Team GBR

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Fear of the Linchpin


So I bought from iTunes Seth Godin’s latest creation from iTunes a a few weeks ago.. The audio book comes in two parts and during some of my commutes and occasionally at home I’ve been dipping into it and slowly working my way through the 8 hours or so of audio..

I like Seth, he has a great deal of interesting, challenging stuff to say… his voice works well in audio books (maybe he has a face for radio?). This book is another well thought out insight/self-help/business/innovation book, or piece of art as he may call it.

But I started to not enjoy it.. it wasn’t that he wasn’t making sense, ‘cus he was.. but he did seem to be banging on about “factories”, I’ve never worked in a factory, but my parents have, so although I can see it’s relevant, for some reason it feels distant and I didn’t connect. I found that lack of connection, for an undeterminable reason all the way through the first half of the audio book; I still learnt a bunch of stuff, I still got some of what he said, but the power and the connection wasn’t necessarily there..

But the second half…

light bulb

Wow, Seth really started switching on some lightbulbs for me, that showed some scary insights into me and you and our behaviours that reinforce or work against us being the “linchpin”.

Disclaimer:- I haven’t actually finished listening to the book yet!

Stuff around a 2nd voice in our heads was fairly standard stuff, but the focus on fear stopping us from being freakin’ awesome and becoming a linchpin and developing a network of linchpin’s around us was extremely interesting. The leadership strands, seem to strengthen as the audio book progresses and I’m not sure whether this is because Seth get’s better at writing, kinda gets into his stride, or that I’m just learning in the first half and putting the relevance into play in the second… but persevere please, it’s worth it…

3 things stuck out on my way to and from a client meeting today listening to Seth..

  1. Fear -  Don’t be scared, things fail, people fail, failure is good.. learn from this, don’t stress, focus on (as Seth says) shipping getting things done, delivering
  2. Stop Checking In - In order to succeed, in order to become a linchpin stop wasting time through the day checking-in periodically (email, Twitter, LinkedIn, intranet, colleagues etc) use that time to be awesome, to deliver, to “ship stuff” & to make a difference
  3. Gift – Give things, knowledge, gifts, books, time or whatever with no thought to reciprocation

So I spent some focussed time this afternoon culling my inbox… I didn’t get to “Inbox Zero”, but I did get down to only 6 unread emails. (Stopped Checking In)

I shipped stuff… No fear, no pause, delivering this blog post, reviewed a draft RFP response, a manifesto and agenda for a clients IT Steering Group, an agenda for a SharePoint 2010 Organisational Readiness session all done, efficiently this afternoon and this evening (Fear)

And finally, as I’d discussed previously with Matt Groves previously, I thought I’d buy a book, a gift for my colleagues at Trinity; so a copy of Seth’s Linchpin is slowly making its way to the office for you to read, borrow, discuss or ignore (Gift)

So, I’ve got a day’s leave tomorrow to spend with my daughter on her birthday, but Friday and all next week

  • I’m not gonna let fear define what I do,
  • I’m gonna focus on shipping stuff and not a stack of spinning plates
  • I’m gonna give..

That’s all, simple, effective and movement towards my personal vision.


Mark Hendy said...


As you know I spend quite a bit of time in the car so I too brought the audio book and listened to it. I DID get the connection to factories but I have been Interim FD for many manufacturing businesses so a connection with his terms of reference to factories was easy for me. I struggled with Seth's analogy of his concept to art. It all sounds a little to sandal wearing hippyish but I so want to keep my mind open. I think for me it's important to see past the words and get at what he actually means and I think I'm about there. I do think though that I'd benefit from a second listening.

You're bang on the money with the comment about Seth's voice being good for audio.

Ron De Giusti said...

Great blog-post.
After reading your tweets for a while, it was nice to see something more than the 140 characters.
I will put Seth's book on my must-read list.
Don't be shy about tweeting out your latest blog-post -- well written and informative.

Ant said...

Thanks Mark,
I did get the link to factories, but just felt it was too dominating; yes the "art" link may be a little on the sandal end of the scale, but if we think of everything with a creative element as a form of our personal art then I think it works.. maths, IT, strategies all have a certain beauty in the "right light"!
Thanks for your comments.
Let me know if you have any books/audio books to recommend?

Ant said...

Thanks Ron!
Yes, sorry a bit, my ratio of tweets to blog posts is a little off balance, but I am seeking to redress this!
I do tweet a link to every blog post I do.. you may have just missed them in the stream of all my other stuff! Would appreciate any other comments about my other posts..
Enjoy Linchpin when you get to read it.

Matt Groves said...

The social experiment of sharing the book with indeed be fascinating to watch... Not convinced that Linchpin is the right starting point (but I haven't got around to readin it yet!), but I guess that is part of the experiment ;)

Given my current status (a slave to my inbox) I think there is value in not "checking in" - I am drowning under the volume of email.

The argument moves into one of percieved and actual value, and also that of implied value...

One to discuss over a #sharepint next week..........