“Only 69¢ – Yet Priceless!”
When I was a kid, I loved visiting my Grandpa Bielefeld. If there ever was a “grandpa” who fit the ideal image, he was the guy. He was the consummate storyteller. He loved the outdoors, taking us on long hikes through the dunes. He was also a car builder – well, if you call a wooden pull cart complete with a roof as a “car.”
When assembling the “car,” he laid out all the parts. Yeah, they were all important, but one piece was especially vital – and get this, it only cost 69¢. That piece was the linchpin. Yeah, it’s the clip-like piece that holds the wheel onto the axle. Without it, you’ll go maybe a foot or two. And then, you’re experiencing major drag.
Enter Seth Godin, master blogger and author. Last year, he wrote a book entitled, Linchpin. He describes a “linchpin” as someone who is indispensable to an organization. They’re, in Godin’s mind, far too unique and valuable.
In both his research and his encounters with “linchpin,” he notes five characteristics, including:
As you read this list, I suspect someone comes to mind from your past that fits the bill. They had the prescription down and because of that, they were the true “change agents.”
So, how ‘bout you? If you were to assign a personal rating for each characteristic (5 = I’ve got this mastered! to 1 = Not me at all), where would you be? And perhaps, the bigger question is: where do YOU want to be?
Thankfully, none of the above five traits are cast in stone. For instance, when it comes to being “open,” maybe your next conversation can be one where you suspend judgment about the other person, even for a moment, so that you can listen to him or her with an open mind.
A little bit of new intentionality from you for any of these characteristics can be a good thing. And the sweet thing is such an action doesn’t even cost you 69¢. And the results can be priceless.
What do you think? I’d love to know which one of the five characteristics you consider the most critical. How would a school communicator go about promoting or elevating this “linchpin” characteristic within your school or leadership team?