Are Architects Cogs or Linchpins?

I’m reading the book Linchpin – Are you indispensable? by Seth Godin. It raises in my mind a number of troubling thoughts about architects and whether we can be viewed as being cogs or linchpins according to Seth’s world view. According to Seth a cog is someone who:

  1. Relies on left (lizard) brained skills
  2. Keeps their head down
  3. Follows instructions (or a process)
  4. Creates widgets
  5. Works hard but just does what is needed
  6. Shows up on time
  7. Gets jobs by providing a CV (AKA resume)
  8. Is easily replaced (by another cog)

whereas as linchpin is someone who:

  1. Relies on right (creative) brained skills
  2. Raises their head above the parapet
  3. Makes judgment calls and leads others
  4. Creates art
  5. Focuses on connecting people and ideas
  6. Work to no fixed schedule or agenda
  7. Gets jobs by pointing prospective employers at their web site, blog, latest work of art or project
  8. Is indispensable

As with any job IT architecture is x% slog and routine and y% creativity, inspiration and creating great ideas or opportunities. By working on the linchpin attributes rather than the cog attribute you can hopefully increase y at the expense of x. I think this resonates well with these skills and my manifesto here.

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