Leadership is not always charging the hill, taking the platform, closing the deal, or having your name in the byline. Leadership often happens in the little things, unnoticed by the public or even the rest of the organization.
Let me introduce you to the fixer:
“In journalism, a fixer is someone, often a local journalist himself, hired by a foreign correspondent to help arrange a story. He or she will most often act as a translator and guide, and will gain access to local interviews that the correspondent would not otherwise have access to. Fixers are rarely credited, and often put themselves in danger, especially in regimes where they might face consequences from an oppressive government for exposing iniquities the state may want to censor.”
Journalists, intelligence officials, and military personnel rely heavily on their relationship with their fixers. The fixer is a connector of people, resources, and communication between two or more parties. Isn’t that the wheelhouse of wise leadership? Isn’t that the off-platform “soft skill” winning leaders need to develop? The answer is a resounding yes.
Across the board, no matter who your flock/tribe/community is, the discrete processes matter. Specifically, the things you do outside the meeting most often enhance what goes on inside the meeting. The moments of leadership in the little things have a direct impact when the larger decisions are finally made.
Here are some quick action steps:
1. Be tuned in to the small things: The people, resources, and content around you all matter and need to be handled with care.
2. Be the glue: The leader might not have the answer, but she knows how to connect the dots to get the right answer. Be comfortable with making the connection and seeing what your team does.
3. Be comfortable with anonymity: This is classic Bob Buford here. He is often quoted as saying “my fruit grows on other people’s trees.” As a fixer, you become okay with being the conduit by which great and significant things occur.
In the last few years I’ve seen the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” everywhere. Retailers are slapping it on everything from coffee mugs to refrigerator magnets. The web is also a flurry with parodied versions that aim to advertise and amuse. (There are some really hilarious one I’ll try to include in this post.)
Keep Calm and Carry On originated in Britain in the late 30s. The United Kingdom was staring down the barrel of Nazi Germany’s eminent attack. Authorities there made a series of posters to raise the morale of the frightened populace. Here is a brief description:
“The Home Planning Committee was tasked in April of 1939 with devising poster designs that would be simple, striking and difficult for the already well-developed German propaganda machine to duplicate. They settled on three slogans printed in fine type against a single bold color backdrop topped with the only image in the series, the crown of King George VI. The first slogan printed was “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory,” the second “Freedom Is in Peril Defend It with All Your Might,” and the third “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The idea was to convey a message of encouragement from the King himself, a rallying cry to inspire people through the initial shocks and horrors of war on the home front.”
The article goes on to tell us that “Keep Calm” never made it to the streets because Germany was unable to invade the home islands. After the war, all the posters were “pulped because of paper shortages.”
Fast Forward 50 years to the year 2000 when is small bookseller in North Eastern England found a copy of “Keep Calm” in some things he’s bought at auction. The bookseller’s wife liked it so much, she hung it in the store and it immediately began to attract attention. Barter Books can now claim to be the birthplace, or rebirth place, of what is now a “cultural icon of the 21th century.”
Something in believer’s heart should be moved by the simple phrase. Proverbs 17:21 brings it home for us:
“The one who knows much says little; an understanding person remains calm.”
Proverbs 17:21 the Message
In one verse, the author, brings together one of the major themes of the Proverbs, namely, that when things get tough the believer is able to withstand. What a refreshing reminder to us today. The power of Jesus holds all things together AND our lives should be oriented around the fact that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him.
For that reason alone we now have the power to “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
see also: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/15388
GREAT VIDEO ON the KEEP CALM POSTER:
MY FAVORITE PARODIES: