Tag Archives: Linchpin

Lin O’Neill Speaks at December 5 Book Synopsis

We are excited about our guest speaker at the December 5 First Friday Book Synopsis.  Substituting for me will be Lin O’Neill, who has presented at our synopsis several times.  Lin O'Neill Picture

Lin is an effective and innovative consultant, trainer, speaker and coach with significant experience in strategy development and implementation, entrepreneurship, transition planning, cross-functional teams, change management and process improvement.

V is for Vulnerable CoverThe book she presents is a best-seller by Seth Godin, entitled V is for Vulnerable:  Life Outside the Comfort Zone (New York:  Portfolio, 2012).  V is for Vulnerable looks and feels like a classic picture book. But it’s not for kids, it’s for hardworking adults. It highlights twenty-six of Seth Godin’s principles about treating your work as a form of art, with illustrations by acclaimed cartoonist Hugh MacLeod.

Seth Godin PictureGodin is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder of squidoo.com, a fast growing, easy to use website. His blog (which you can find by typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. Before his work as a writer and blogger, Godin was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, a job he got after selling them his pioneering 1990s online startup, Yoyodyne.

In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor.

Don’t miss this synopsis.  You can register by clicking here.

You Can Purchase Our Book Synopsis Presentations – Subscription Plan Now Available

Let me take a moment for a “commercial.”  This blog is a place to learn information, a place to be challenged, a place to think about ideas for effective business ideas and strategies.  But occasionally, I would like to share a little about what we do.

Karl Krayer and I have spoken monthly at the First Friday Book Synopsis for over 12 years.  We are book readers, thinkers, consultants.  We also offer training in a number of areas:  writing skills, presentation skills, leadership, time and energy management, among others.  (Read our bios here).

In addition, we provide book synopsis/book briefing presentations to companies and organizations.  You can choose from any of the books we have presented, or we can custom prepare any book for your organization.

To contact us for any of these programs, visit our web site here, or send me an e-mail:  .  Contact us, and Karl Krayer or I will get back to you.

We have recently upgraded our companion website, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  We have been “behind,” but we are catching up with the synopses of many of the books we have presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  For example, we have just uploaded our presentations of these books:

Reality Check
The New Experts
The Post American World

Others are on the way soon.  And from this point forward, we should have the two books from the most recent First Friday Book Synopsis within a couple of weeks after each event.

Note:  it is important to read the faq’s before you make your first purchase.  These address many of your questions (read the faq’s here).  Each presentation comes with the handout plus the audio of our presentation.  The handout is intended to be used with the audio.  The vast majority of the recordings are from our presentations at the First Friday Book Synopsis, but not all.

Some people purchase these, and listen on their own (in their car; in their iPod/MP3 while they exercise).  Others listen, following along with the handout.  (This is probably the way to get the most out of each presentations).

And we have some who play the audio for a group, then lead a discussion of the implications and applications.  Great idea!

You can purchase at two price points:  $9.99 per synopsis, or a yearly subscription, with full access to all of the archives plus the 24 new presentations a year.  A bargain!

Browse titles with the catalog, and make individual synopsis purchases, here.

Sign up for the annual subscription, get instant and full access to all the presentations already up on the web site, and access all new presentations for the next 12 months, here.

I hope you will give our services a try.  Either bring us into your company or organization, or purchase our book synopsis presentations through our web site.  These will provide valuable content and useful help as you build your future.


Note:  Karl Krayer and I work together in Creative Communication Network.  In addition, we have blogging team members who work independently..

Our blogging team partner, Bob Morris, is available as a consultant.  He is an invaluable resource for an array of business issues and problems.  He is also a master interviewer (just browse through his interviews!), and can provide custom interviews to fit the needs of your company or organization.  You can contact Bob directly at .

And our other blogging team partners, Cheryl Jensen and Sara Smith of C&S Knowledge Company provide valuable services.  Visit their web site here, where you can also find their contact information.

Being Indispensable Has Its Limits – Be Careful!

The sub-title of Seth Godin’s new best-seller, Linchpin, is “Are You Indispensable?”

Over the years, I have facilitated several strategic planning sessions for departments, divisions, and units, which included the formation of a mission statement specific to the work that they do.

I joked on Friday morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas that when these groups have difficulty writing what they do, what purpose they serve, how they are indispensable, or in other words, what the organization would look like or how it would get along without them – they need to figure that out before someone else does!  If they weren’t there, how could the organization survive?  That list needs to be as ugly-looking as possible. 

Of course, you could say the same thing about an individual, which is the subject of Godin’s book.  If you are not indispensable, you do not stand out or contribute in a unique way, and you are certainly not a linchpin.

I have been with some groups who got excited about the prospects of writing their mission statement.  I am all for enthusiasm, but the great anchor in all cases must be alignment.  Do you align with the mission of the larger organization?  If your group does not align with, cascade with, and fit in with, the organization of which it is a member, you could be writing your ticket out of the organization.

You may view this as limiting.  It may not sound creative to you.  You are probably right.  Think about it.  If you describe the purpose you serve in ways that do not support the purpose of the body that you work for, you do not belong there. 

The reality is that every department or division is not its own island.  You can be indispensable without being stupid. 

What do you think?  Let’s talk about it.

Coming in June for the First Friday Book Synopsis: Daniel Pink’s Drive, and Employee Engagement

For the June First Friday Book Synopsis, I will be presenting a synopsis of the best-selling Daniel Pink book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This has been well-reviewed, Bob Morris and I have both blogged about it on this site a few times, and it will be a terrific choice to help you think about what motivates you and those around you.

Karl Krayer has chosen a practical book on employee engagement.  All companies want their employees to be fully engaged, but attaining this elusive goal is tough.  The book is Make Their Day!:  Employee Recognition That Works by Cindy Ventrice.

Mark your calendars now for June 4, our June First Friday Book Synopsis.

(and note:  our synopses from this morning — Linchpin by Seth Godin and ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson — should be up on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com, in just a few days).

An Invitation — come join us this Friday for the May First Friday Book Synopsis

If you live in the DFW area, I hope you will join us this Friday (May 7) at 7:00 am at the Park City Club for a great breakfast, terrific networking, and our synopses of Rework and Linchpin.  I will present the synopsis of Rework, and Karl Krayer will present the synopsis of Linchpin.

Just click here to register.

Make Yourself Irreplaceable – Again – Every Day (reflecting on Godin’s Linchpin) – with update

From the script for the movie Titanic:

Andrews - before hitting the iceberg

Five compartments. She can stay afloat with the first four compartments
breached. But not five. Not five. As she goes down by the head the water
will spill over the tops of the bulkheads… at E Deck… from one to the
next… back and back. There’s no stopping it.

The pumps–

The pumps buy you time… but minutes only. From this moment, no matter
what we do, Titanic will founder.

But this ship can’t sink!

She is made of iron, sir. I assure you, she can. And she will. It is a
mathematical certainty.
(Smith looks like he has been gutpunched).


It has all disappeared.

The way we worked, the way we organized work, the way we climbed within a company or organization in the logical and steady advancement of our careers – it is pretty much gone.  And it is not coming back.

Maybe not for everybody.  Not yet.  But – it is already a done deal.  The world has changed.  “It is a mathematical certainty.”

I remember hearing an interview years ago with a factory worker.   He had been laid off, and his job was not coming back.  He had done nothing wrong.  He was a hard worker, he showed up everyday, he kept getting promotions.  But, the factory itself was not up-to-date, and the company was closing it.  He was simply out of work.  And not just out of work. He was lost.  He sounded lost.  You felt for him.  He had spent his life as  a conscientious worker.  And now…nothing.

Seth Godin writes about this in Linchpin, and he warns us that no one is safe.  No one.

Here’s a quote from the book:

Many white-collar workers wear white collars, but they’re still working in the factory…
It’s factory work because it’s planned, controlled, and measured.  It’s factory work because you can optimize for productivity.  These workers know what they’re going to do all day – and it’s still morning.
The white-collar job was supposed to save the middle class, because it was machineproof.  A machine could replace a guy hauling widgets up a flight or stirs, but a machine could never replace someone answering the phone or running the fax machine.
Of course, machines have replaced those workers…  Worse, much worse, is that competitive pressures and greed have encouraged most organizations to turn their workers in to machines…
Our world no longer fairly compensates people who are cogs in a giant machine.

He then includes a simple drawing that illustrates that if your job description can be automated — and someone is trying to automate it right now! — you are doomed.

I’m reading Linchpin and feeling sad – challenged – invigorated – anxious.  The sad part is that I know he is right, and a whole lot of people are in for it.  The challenged and invigorated part is because it tells me why I have to keep moving, changing, growing.  The anxious part — well, I don’t have to tell you.  Every day, I have to keep finding new ways to make myself valuable to somebody.  And that is…  exhausting.

In Switch, the Heath brothers tell us that any time we have to think about doing something, anytime that what we are about to do is not on automatic pilot (i.e., needing supervision, where we have to pay attention to and supervise our actions), then we are faced with an emotional and physical energy drain.  It takes little energy, especially emotional energy, to accomplish a task that is on automatic pilot.  They put it this way:

Self-control is an exhaustible resource…  Much of our daily behavior is more automatic than supervised, and that’s a good thing because the supervised behavior is the hard stuff.  It’s draining.

Godin says that now, practically all work is going to have to be off of automatic pilot.

The quote above:
These workers know what they’re going to do all day – and it’s still morning.

The reality:
Everybody now has a “job” in which he/she does not yet know what to do all day each day.  You make it up/discover it/learn it as you go.  And if you can’t do that, you can be replaced with some form of automation.

Update: please read the comments for some back and forth discussion and my attempt at clarification.