A Twitter friend of mine asked me “when do you take a drink of company Kool-Aid and when do you stay to the course of being a Linchpin?” It’s a good question and I’m sure that a lot of people are struggling with this same question.
First let’s remember that Seth Godins’ book, although a great read and common sense, does not apply to a LOT of people & companies. Today employees are often work in matrix environments where they are evaluated on how well they get along with others in different functional areas.
It’s hard to “give up the love” and become a Linchpin when it could jeopardize your career. Seth would probably say ” if you can’t get what you want then go where you can do what you want and make a difference” but in today’s job market that is easier said than done.
Chose the path of a Linchpin and making a difference often can lead to great results for the brand but you might find yourself on the defensive come review time. Your boss also could see your path to wanting to a Linchpin as a direct challenge to her/his authority as very few managers and organizations today practice Open Leadership.
In the end though you are eventually going to have to make a career choice. You can continue to be just an employee or you can strive to make a difference and become a Linchpin. If it’s not at your current company than you’re going to have to admit that your current job is the one that you want to grow with.
This means as jobs start to come back you’re going to have to look for that job that really turns you on, a job where you’re excited to go to work every day because your input is valued and you make a difference.
Keep in mind also that change sometimes is best when it evolutionary nor revolutionary. Don’t become a Linchpin overnight by going full throttle. Start with measured steps until you have a nice trail and path to follow.
I don’t know about you but I feel life is too damn short to sit in a cube farm and do tasks that don’t add value to the brand or make you feel good about about your job. I want to make a difference and I believe that a lot of us really do want to care and go that extra step it’s just that over time corporate processes and bureaucracy can turn even simple things into a maze that takes a lot of energy to tackle day in and day out.