“Life shrinks and expands on the proportion of your willingness to take risks and try new things.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
A linchpin is defined as- a person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization. Many of us view ourselves as dispensable in our jobs and work atmospheres. We feel that at the drop of a dime we can be replaced; which in some special instances can be true. Yet, I feel those instances are few and far between and there are certain steps any person can take to make themselves irreplaceable to an organization. Throughout my career I’ve developed how to become an effective linchpin and an asset to multiple businesses. Here are my top 3 qualities all effective linchpins must have:
Trustworthiness – I have never had a job that I did not have the keys to. Why? Because there is no greater fulfillment to me than when someone gives me their trust; and I’ll do anything I can to earn their trust. So how do you go about winning over your organization’s, CEO, or manager’s trust? The first step is to show up early, not on time. When first starting with a new company it’s so important to be the first one in the parking lot. There is no greater eye opener and sign of motivation to the CEO of a business, than the new hire who consistently is early and ready to work. This is the first step to dependability. When the business can rely on you to show up early, rain or shine, trust starts to flow; and you are now labeled as reliable.
Entrepreneurial Design – What has made me a very effective linchpin during my working career is my ability to treat any business I work for like my own business. If I see a candy wrapper on the floor, I pick it up. I show up early and make sure everything is set up and ready for the day regardless of what department it is for. I make it my business to know how every department functions and how I fit into the mix. Most people do not do those things. They go to work, do their jobs, complain about their salary, and go home. To separate yourself from everyone else it’s so important to show a hunger to learn about the business and the ability for you to put yourself in the CEO’s shoes. By going above and beyond you will be defining yourself as a huge asset to the organization which will eventually pay dividends.
Consistency – Building both trust and gaining knowledge about an organization takes time, and you need to show consistency in your behavior. What does that mean? It means just don’t show up early one day out of the week. Show up early everyday. Before you leave everyday ask your department and anyone else’s department what they need so they can get out on time. It’s by making these subtle yet consistent sacrifices that you not only define yourself as a leader in your company, but you start to become indispensable. As a linchpin you want people to rely on you and in turn want to make the business think “what would we do if this person wasn’t here?”
Conclusion – So what does being an effective linchpin do for you? It first of all opens you up to greater opportunity in the company you work for. Work ethic is something that can rarely be taught but is a skill that is developed over time. If you want to move up in the company all the people in all different departments that you’ve helped, will have your back. Second, it gives you greater negotiating power in terms of salary. The more you do for the company the more of an asset you become. By acting on the above three qualities you make it impossible for a new hire or even someone with experience to take your position. Lastly you show you are a leader. There is nothing more that CEO’s and managers alike love than knowing that some of the pressure is off of them. If you can relieve some of the pressure, by not only holding your own in the workplace, but by coaching and mentoring other individuals you’re on a very good path to becoming an effective linchpin and ultimately irreplaceable.