They’re turning the crank, one of my former bosses said frequently when waiting for materials. He meant the administrative wheels were in motion. All the things that happen behind the scenes to meet a need, respond to a request or fight figurative fires were happening. We gave him credit for recognizing the work required to bring ideas to life – the hours of inputs and the various dependencies to produce a report or service a meeting or satisfy a client, often unseen – like the underwater mass of an iceberg keeping it afloat.
His peers didn’t always get it. Too many requests, scenarios and philosophical debates filled the management gears, each requiring layers upon layers of work. The executive request cascades to a management team and extends to delegates and beyond. One small turn of the crank, a butterfly flaps its wings…now we call it leverage.