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I’ve enjoyed and appreciated Seth Godin and his work for years now since I was introduced to his book Purple Cow.  If you’re not familiar with him, check him out.  He’s a free thinker and understands a lot about the new way things are.  Most recently I’ve been listening to the audio version his book Linchpin on my iphone.  It’s got some great stuff and I strongly recommend it.  I thought I’d blog about the key topic – becoming a linchpin.

A linchpin is a pin at the end of an axle that keeps the wheel from falling off.  In business, a linchpin is an indispensable person (without whom the wheels would fall off the business).

When I first started as a CAT adjuster, I remember that as my first storm was wrapping up, claims slowed from a torrent to a trickle and the claims company I was working for started sending folks home.  I was making great money, and did not at all want to get sent home (and I did not want to leave this to chance).  So I did what I could to be the guy that got kept on for “clean-up”.

My strategy was simple; produce a very large number of quality claims with less hassle to my employers than the other CAT adjusters working around me.  It worked pretty well, too.  As claims started slowing down, I started getting calls from my storm manager asking if I could handle claims that other slower adjusters were not closing quickly enough.  I always said YES.  When I got them, I jumped on them like a cop on a doughnut and knocked them out of the park.  This got me more calls, and more claims from other slower adjusters.  I stayed on longer than other folks this way.  I’ve now been in the business for some time; I’ve seen adjusters come and adjusters go.  I believe that success and mediocrity is absolutely predictable.  Becoming indispensable is not a matter of chance, it’s a planned outcome.

So how does one become indispensable?  Let me tell you a story that made an impression on me.  Not long ago, I was listening to a recording of Napoleon Hill.  He was relating how one of his stenographers was once transcribing a talk he was giving about proactively solving problems.  In the middle of her transcription, she stopped, told him she had an idea, but didn’t say what it was.  From that moment on, she aimed to anticipate Mr. Hill’s every need.  Even though he had dozens of stenographers, she became his favorite.  She learned everything about him, all his needs, habits, preferences and such.  At one point a year or two later, his personal assistant passed away, and without even asking she just assumed all of that assistant’s duties.  He didn’t even question it; she was the natural choice.  She had become absolutely indispensable to him!

In the CAT adjusting world, I believe you must do the same type of thing with your employer.  Get inside their head (without stalking them!) and know what they’re looking for.  What would you want if you were a Storm Manager with hundreds of CAT adjusters working under you?  Figure that out and be that person – I promise that you will become indispensable.

Stay tuned; I’ll be posting about what Storm Managers that I’ve talked to have told me personally about what they’re looking for.  I’ll also be posting about out-of-the-box ways to become indispensable as an adjuster; there are many, many ways to skin a CAT!


– Adam

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