Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Thoughts from the Blogosphere (Updated)

I received my copy of Linchpin, the new book by Seth Godin a few weeks ago and have only got to read a bit. What I’ve read, however, is speaking to me the way all of his books do. Until I have finished the book and pondered some more, take a look at these posts, etc. I’ll be suggesteing this as yet another choice for context books in LIS768.

Church of the Customer Blog:

Q: What is a linchpin, and why is it important to become one?

A linchpin is the part you can’t live without, the thing that makes a difference. In every organization there are one (or several) people like this. It might be the brilliant inventor who creates the impossible, but it’s far more likely to be the great sales rep or customer service person who makes a connection, or the marketer who knows how to tell a story that resonates.

In a post-factory world, manning the assembly line isn’t so critical. Stuffing the candies into the boxes, running the punch press, following the manual… these are easily replaced roles, ones where neither the worker nor the organization gains much on the margin. If you want real job satisfaction and security, then, you need to figure out how to do the unexpected, to do work that matters and to create human interactions.

Daniel Pink:

GODIN: Does this explain why people with an irresistible need to create tend to gravitate to fields where they’re almost certain to not get paid? (Stuff like poets, painters and playwrights come to mind).

PINK: I doubt it. What I think is going on is that until recently, the business world didn’t much prize people with these kinds of skills. So if you wanted to do those things, you weren’t going to get paid much. Today, these right-brain types are much more in demand. That said, there are maybe fourteen people on the planet who are going to make a living as poets. But, again, there are maybe a million who can use their talents as poets in work as teachers, copywriters, bloggers, journalists, and other professions and business centered on creation.

GODIN: Do you agree with me that every successful organization needs people like this today? Problem solvers, self-drivers, artists?

PINK: Of course. Not even a close call.

GODIN: How then do we merge the two motivations? How do we get people to bring their artist to work?

PINK: Stop treating people like horses and start treating them like human beings. Instead of trying to bribe folks with sweeter carrots or threaten them with sharpen sticks, how about giving them greater freedom at work, allowing them to get better at something they love, and infusing the workplace with a sense of purpose? If we tap that third drive more fully, we can rejuvenate or businesses and remake our world.

Rethinking Learning:

Q. Universities take the longest to change. Does everyone need to take classes with information they mastered already? How can university students set their agenda, challenge material they know already, and demonstrate what they understand?

Seth: Here’s what’s going to make universities change: we’re going to stop going. We’re going to stop paying. Once people realize that Full Sail and the U of Phoenix can deliver the same thing (or better) for much less money, the panic will set in, for the first time in five hundred years Universities are going to have to do something new. I think this will happen in the next thirty years.

Q. Education tends to be a top-down driven model where administrators, standards, policies, and test scores drive what teachers teach. How do you see education changing with this model where the individual sets their agenda?

Seth: As a student in a digital world, tell me again why I need the building? The administration? The system? I don’t. And as accreditation becomes less meaningful because it’s easier to test the student than to test the system, the top heavy organizations will falter. And fast.

Can you tell I chose those passages because they speak to me and my vision of the library workplace of the future? I’d like to think we’ll be hiring poets, artists and dreamers in our libraries – bringing their vision, uniqueness and viewpoints. And what does that mean for they way we prepare new librarians? I definitely have some thoughts about that!

Check out Linchpin soon.


Podcast with Merlin Mann: