Inspiring Staff

Another excerpt from Linchpin : are you indispensible? By Seth Godin.

Inspiring Staff

Organizations obey Newton’s laws. A team at rest tends to stay at rest. Forward motion isn’t the default state of any group of people, particularly groups with lots of people. Cynics and politics and coordination kick in and everything grinds to a halt.

In a factory, this isn’t really a problem. The owner controls the boss who controls the foreman who controls the worker. It’s a tightly linked chain, and things get done because there is cash to be made. Most modern organizations are now far more amorphous than this. Responsibility isn’t as clear, deliverables aren’t as measurable, and goals aren’t as cut and dried. So things slow down.

The linchpin changes that. Understanding that your job is to make something happen changes what you do all day. If you can only cajole, not force, if you can only lead, not push, then you make different choices.

You can’t say, “Get more excited and insightful or you’re fired.” Actually, you can, but it won’t work. The front-desk worker at a hotel who runs out in the middle of the night to buy gym shorts for a guest isn’t doing it out of fear of being reprimanded. He does it because he was inspired to do so by a leader ~ho wasn’t even in the hotel when the clerk decided to contribute.

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