At a time when organizations are aggressively cutting personnel, the way to survive is not just to cozy up to the boss but to create a niche for yourself that makes you too valuable to be let go or be allowed to quit.
That's the advice of management consultant and author Seth Godin. He argues that when it comes to job performance, even above average isn't always good enough. His advice is applicable to people at all levels of an organization and especially timely for credit unions in view of the increased number of mergers that are shrinking the number of employees in the movement.
Many management books are filled with clich? and trite truisms that an author has packaged together in such a way as to increase his fees on the lucrative career advice speaking circuit.
While there is some of that in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, much of the book is rigorously argued and includes references from political and economic history.
In an earlier era, you could work in a factory or office, keep your head down and be guaranteed lifetime employment (think The Organization Man) in all but the most extreme circumstances. Although that provided job security, Godin (like others before him) documents how the changing economy has put an end to that structure.
While the changes have caused considerable anxiety, Godin is more upbeat.
"This situation presents a wonderful opportunity. Yes, it's an opportunity to actually enjoy what you do, to make a difference to your colleagues and customers and to unlock the genius you've been hiding all these years," he writes.
To capitalize on the new economy, employees should think of themselves as artists. You don't have to sing or paint but take pride in your work the way an artist or craftsman and bring unique value to what you do all day while being great at it. He argues that going the proverbial extra mile will be rewarded by your boss, colleagues and those you deal with outside of your organization. But although he favors a collegial approach, he contends that too often the emphasis on teamwork results in conformity and discourages creativity.
As befits a management guru, Godin also provides the tools needed to help individuals overcome doubts that often prevent people from reaching their full potential. He does an effective job of explaining the brain chemistry and anatomy that causes such thoughts and then spends several pages advising the reader how to overcome them. One such idea is find ways to escape your comfort zone. "Going out of your way to find uncomfortable isn't natural, but it's essential," he notes.