Some of you may know that I am a big fan of Seth Godin and his seminal book, “Linchpin – Are You Indispensable?”. Seth states that a Linchpin is “an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen.”
As operations executives, we spend an inordinate amount of organizational bandwidth fighting the day-to-day challenges, or as we call it, firefighting. We try to overcome this day-to-day battle by sharpening our pencils (do people still say this?) and creating elaborate strategic plans designed to free us from the fight by designing the problems out of the equation. Sometimes we get lucky, and a plan comes through that eliminates a daily challenge. Only of course, to be backfilled by another! Problems tend to behave this way.
When thinking about how a Linchpin operates, it would seem that the qualities of bringing order to chaos, inventing or making things happen would be the most critical to the role. However, I disagree. I think the most important attribute of a Linchpin is Connecting.
As Brene Brown’s quote goes:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
For us leaders, connecting our people to our company’s mission and vision is paramount to success. That connection is driven by leaders that truly make people feel heard and valued. The connections also go beyond mission and vision. We also need to feel connected at the personal level. The need for personal connection is instinctual as humans. This is why we are drawn to finding our 'tribes'.
To quote Seth Godin again: “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
I want to leave you with this thought. Just as you create a culture of connection within your own organizations, find your tribe of operations executives today!