Too often, in today’s environment, many feel as though they are walking on eggshells to avoid the dreaded pink slip. Especially in the nonprofit arena, funding is tight and it seems that we are beyond trimming the “fat” and have moved on to combining legs, arms and other essential body parts to get by. Because of this, I often hear the question being asked about how we not only keep our jobs, but also become a vital spoke in the wheel the organization can’t live without.
I love this question and the fact that you are asking it speaks volumes. So many people in the workforce, nonprofit and for profit, going about their daily routine focusing on the 5:00 hour and nothing more than checking off their to do list. This may “get you by” but it will never get you ahead and keep you on board.
What you are asking about is how to become a linchpin. Seth Godin recently wrote another amazing book on this topic and I want to share his thoughts on this with you. For those of you who have never picked up a Godin book or don’t follow his blog, you should – now! Godin reminds us that we were not born to be a “cog in the giant industrial machine”, but that society, over the years, has trained us to become a cog. The days of cog living have come to an end if you wish to be indispensable in the workforce.
According to the book, Linchpin, by Seth Godin, “There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rulebook. Thy love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware thet keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.
Have you ever found a shortcut that others missed? Seen a new way to resolve a conflict? Made a connection with someone others couldn’t reach? Even once? Then you have what it takes to become indispensable, by overcoming the resistance that holds people back.” You can be a Linchpin.So the choice is yours. The first step is to decide that you can and will become a Linchpin. After that, your actions will speak loudly. Be sure to be as educated as possible. Read blogs, books, and articles. Have conversations and become indispensable. In the nonprofit world today, we desperately need to think outside of the box and wrap our arms around different ways of doing things. You have a chance now that may not have been available before to be a part of the new, out of the box, way of thinking and doing. If you can step up to the plate, fill yourself with information, passion, leadership and understanding, you will not only keep your job, but also cease to be a cog in the system.
There is no better place to be when pink slips are handed down than to be the one they can’t live without.