How to Determine if You Are a Linchpin :: Assignment

This week I was given a seemingly easy assignment. To answer the question; are you a Linchpin, and if yes, why? If you are familiar with the phrase that Seth Godin has made into a coined term at this point, the immediate answer to that question is easy, yes, of course. But the longer I thought about the second part of the question the more I got knotted up into a self debate of what exactly is a Linchpin before I could determine the why of the yes or no.

In short, a Linchpin is the irreplaceable person. You might say that in today’s culture and business market, there is no such thing as a person who can’t be easily replaced.  For a large percentage of the workforce, this is probably the case, but the key to that statement is “easily” replaced.  Many jobs today are just mental factory workers, plug and play, just take out person A and replace them with person B and in a short period of time, no one will notice the difference, certainly not the balance sheet.  It’s all about the value that each warm body adds to the factory by following the manual or map for each task.

The factory workers today are programmers, accountants, customer service reps, students (all positions I have done in the past), any position that can be given a set of procedures, required to then follow them without any thinking or creativity required, expected, or desired, to complete their task.

A Linchpin on the other hand is someone who creates spurts of enormous value to the company or organization by doing those tasks that can’t be written down in a manual because they require art, the art of thinking, the art of challenging the status-quo, the art of being a problem solver or troubleshooter, a person who is hard to replace in a replaceable world.

How about it, are you a Linchpin, and if so, why? I’m still thinking about it myself but I’ll let you know next week.

10 Ways to Continue to Create Original Ideas

Well this is start of the first full week of the new year, and actually the first official week in my position here at work.  I want to say I am getting settled in but I think I did that in the month of December.  As I sit here in a borrowed office for today I am thinking about so many new things going on here at Cornerstone that makes it an exciting time here, and a busy time.

This week we started a new series called “Alive”.  We will be going through the book of Colossians for the next month, and at the same time starting a walk through journaling our thoughts and questions as we study through this book.

The creative minds over here decided to do something different and actually engage (not that we don’t try to do that anyway) with everyone on a different level.  We started a website (http://www.thealivejournal.com) that corresponds to a paper journal everyone received on Sunday.

As we walk through the book, the website will be updated with new scriptures and an application each day for the remaining of the series.  A fresh approach and something that will hopefully catch on with others.  I know writing is like many other things in life.  The more you write, the better you get, and the more you write.

How Do We Continue to Create?

How do we continue to create?  It doesn’t matter if you are working for a church, a school, self-employed, or whatever, creativity is important, it keeps our minds “alive”.  Opening up and becoming more creative is something I strive to do each day, but I don’t buy into the notion that there are creative people and people who are not creative.  Everyone is creative, but not everyone allows it to come out, or deems it to be important.

Looking ahead I don’t want this to be the pinnacle of creativity this year.  To me, there are basically three areas of creativity (I know there are many more but follow me here) that pretty much encompass everything else; writing, o-graphy (that would be photo-video), and music.  So, to me, the key is how to grow in each of these areas and find new ways to create in each of these areas.

Anne Jackson wrote a great piece today, The Death of Publishing as We Know It: Who Holds the Smoking Gun? that talks about how the publishing industry has screwed itself into the ground by publishing so many mediocre books.  True, we are not all writers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write.  As a photographer I would say the same thing.  Just because you are not a professional photographer does that mean you are never going to pick up a camera again?  My key for myself is to write more, shoot more, and read more.

So, as some say, here is a “mind dump” in no particular order.

10 Ways to Create Original Ideas

  1. Write more, read more, and learn more about media
  2. Surround yourself with creative minds when you can
  3. Ask someone for help or suggestions
  4. Expand what you normally do and be different
  5. Get out of your routine, go outside your normal elements
  6. Remember your focus – what is it, making money, salvation, discipleship?
  7. Don’t copy —- take, redesign, and create something new
  8. Don’t be afraid of the box – throw the box out and don’t worry about what is “correct”
  9. Think for yourself.  Don’t let others tell you how to think.  Study and think for yourself
  10. Be prepared to fail and try something else

Number 7 is a little vague I know.  What I mean is what we read from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Most “new” is something that was improved upon from something or someone else.  So find something good and make it great.  My problem is always “finding the new”.

This is really my list for myself.  I have never felt like I was a very creative person but most of that is because I refused to let it surface.  It had no real purpose.  Perhaps the older I get the more important it is and the harder I have to work at it to get better.