By: Becky Wilcox
Some years ago, I had read Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin, which detailed the importance of becoming a critical component of the workplace environment. I’ll spare you the details, but the idea was to learn and apply as much as you could so the business was reliant on your efforts.
You’re so great at work you dictate value and salary along with placing incredible job security. You’re also positioning for entrepreneurship, when the time comes, with a thorough understanding and access to necessary resources.
Here’s how it’s done:
Part 1: Get Your Head Straight about Business
You’re a cog in the business machine.
Meaning if someone came along offering cheaper services for equal efforts then you’ll likely get the ax despite your seniority. Business owners are in it to make a profit, plain and simple. It’s harsh but realizing this will place a heavier effort toward building your skills and value.
Why does it matter?
You’re building real skills, not just routines
You’re creating real connections, not just associations
Begin with committing to ongoing learning. This means studying in your off-hours using the dozens of wonderful online courses or reading (and acting on) career advice articles.
Another valuable skill is lean operations and team management. Usually, you’re “going along” with what’s dictated by a team leader or boss. Turn the tables, learn Lean Six Sigma skills for communication, and lead the charge.
Finally, you should practice skills in off-hour projects. Work generally pigeon-holes what’s needed in that moment, and there isn’t a lot of time to refine and grow your skills through practice. Doing these projects in the off-hours will create new opportunities to learn and apply new skills that’ll become desirable for work.
The best part of these actions?
Each lend to exploring entrepreneurship:
Ongoing learning will have you exploring new opportunities
Lean operations and management will create a path
Practice will build the expertise and authority to launch
And even if you’re not the entrepreneur type…
It’ll give you leverage at work — you’re going above and beyond, slowly becoming the go-to person when a project needs completion – which is the path to becoming a linchpin.
Part 2: Tools that’ll Help You along the Way
You’re not alone in this journey…
Several, powerful resources are available to help identify the direction you’ll need to take. These tools and resources will greatly cut down the time commitment and barriers.
The tools include:
Assessment tests – Tools used to identify qualities and value while offering suggestions and idea of which skills are worth pursuing.
Portfolio – Accomplished via LinkedIn or creating a personal site where you share expertise and build personal branding and authority.
Udemy – A massive online learning portal to understand and build skills covering all areas of interest and workplace needs.
Trello – An easy-to-use time and project management tool not only for business projects but usable with everyday activities (especially those off-hour, business/career building projects).
YNAB – Popular budgeting tool that’ll remove the stress with managing finances while revealing the extra income you could use to explore on-going learning and business ideas.
Evernote – Since everyone has dozens of great ideas throughout the day; this cross-platform note-taking tool is the cornerstone of tracking your progress (and setting goals).
And in all honesty…
Whatever tools you’re using to accomplish work, now, but taking your knowledge higher. This includes getting certs or taking a course to understand the finer details – not the limited scope you’re probably using to simply do the tasks.
Take it or Leave it: Time to get Stern with Work
Becoming a linchpin echoes power.
You’re the one that gets things done. You’re irreplaceable for the operations. With that comes a command for choosing projects and pay. Of course, within reason, but it does become a game changer.
And if they’re uneasy about your newfound positioning or if you’re not feeling satisfied?
There’s always the option of taking those incredible, new skills elsewhere (commanding better pay and flexibility) or exploring those entrepreneurial dreams.
About the author
Becky Wilcox is a mother and entrepreneur. Originally from the east, she now lives on the west coast. Becky enjoys writing about business, health, tech, and anything else that sparks her interest!