Seth Godin put up an interesting blog post today. At first I thought this was in conflict with his writing in Linchpin, but then I realized that the true challenge is in designing a service that not only allows, but encourages the participants to be creative and human while still ensuring quality, throughput and other business objectives.
During some recent travel I had enough time to read Seth Godin's Linchpin, cover to cover in one sitting. Well actually it was two sittings back to back with a layover in Dallas Fort Worth, but close enough.
Looking back, I almost wish I had stretched this over several days since the concepts take a bit of time to bake. Godin appropriately points out early in the book that the ideas will meet with resistance in your mind. In fact, one of the main premises in the book is this idea that we are all basically of two minds. Our creative social mind, and a nicknamed "lizard brain" that resists risk and sometimes sabotages our ability to put forth our best effort. My lizard brain was on full alert as I crammed through the book, but strangely that helped me to at least validate some of the theories in the book in real time.
This book is different from the other Godin books that I have read in that it wasn't prescriptive in how to accomplish a goal, reach an audience, or spread an idea. It was more of a manifesto, a plea for the reader as an individual to be different. The different that Godin is pushing for requires breaking the rules of conformity and abandoning the repeatable cookie cutter factory-like methods that so many industries cling to in the name of quality. He asks the reader instead to focus on human interaction and emotional nuance and makes a compelling argument that this will allow the reader to stand out, do more, and become indispensable to the organizations they serve.
Godin rounds out his argument with anecdotes of modern successful linchpins, historical perspectives about why the current career landscape encourages cookie cutter behavior but actually favors certain types of rule breaking, and even gives some basic evolutionary neurology backing for his theories.
This book is a great read if you are looking to stretch your mind a bit about what it takes to stand out, be successful and make a difference.