Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Firing Your Gatekeepers



Question: who or what keeps you from doing remarkable things for your organization?

In most companies, there are gatekeepers...those people or processes that have become so ingrained into an organization that they prevent things that go WOW from happening.

In one company, it's the technology that everyone has to use on a daily basis. The technology bogs down innovation, productivity, and inspiration.

In another firm, it's the person who always says "we can't do that." "We can't change the reporting structure." "We can't send them a large fruit basket...it costs too much." "We can't create a different work flow process because it will screw up all the other business units." "We can't hire this person because we don't have approved headcount." "We can't...we can't...we can't..."

The funny thing is, these gatekeepers somehow stick around without getting noticed. And when they are noticed, organizations do little to remove them.

Why is that?

Sometimes organizations become insular and comfortable with the status quo. They don't see the gatekeepers because they have become a part of the organization itself. Thus, people within the organization have a harder time seeing these gatekeepers. As a result, the gatekeepers stick around and lay waste to ideation, WOW projects...and overall remarkability.

Sometimes organizations spot the gatekeepers. But then after much lip-service, the effort to eradicate them fizzles and never really achieves its end goal. Most of the time, it's because the effort lacked a champion to help drive the effort through to the end. Everyone in the group effort agrees that it is a worthy cause to go after, but as usual...work gets in the way. People have other projects to complete. Corporate silos prevent certain things from happening as smoothly. Bumps along the road cause people to slowly lose passion. And then...things...revert...back...to normal. Perhaps some slight modifications are added to the regularity of business as you know it. But nothing too drastic.

I mention all this not to just address business in general (although it applies perfectly to it). I mention all this to also speak to those individuals responsible for the talent within their organization.

Think about the gatekeepers you face on a daily basis.

Is it the sluggish process? Tough to get-in-contact with hiring managers? The incredibly non-user friendly ATS system? The organization's inability to accurately predict how many people to go out and hire?

Fire them. Fire all the gatekeepers. If you need help, you can read this. Or this. Or this. Or this.

And then you can start doing some things that go WOW.

And if you're thinking to yourself, "We don't have too many gatekeepers around here," what's keeping you from doing something remarkable?

Could it be...that you've become a gatekeeper yourself?

1 comment:

Bruce Lewin said...

Oh my word, talk about touching a nerve!!!