The humble gate-keeper’s are the root cause for all the progress and problems that we see all the time as they manifest and play out around us! Whether its is about writing the story of political success or disasters or it is about organisations doing well at one point and then going down the drain in a few years, among the many other contributing factors, the silent passive role of the gate-keeper is almost always one of the reasons for all that manifests- it is the space when “too much” or “too little” from the gate-keepers goes on to create and manifest realities that no one want’s to embrace! Join me here as we undertake this journey to understand what really happens when gate-keepers misfire and what is that we can do to plug that bit so that we don’t end up fighting battles which are best avoided!
Unlike popular belief, gate-keepers are everywhere and every level, whether you want to start with your home, the community you live in, the work place that you go to or the business engagements that you are part of or if you are lucky enough to witness the building up and falling down of political fortunes of politicians and nations, each and every space around these aspects of our life are driven by gate-keepers- their effectiveness and balanced thinking is what propels societies collectively further and ahead and when they get mentally fatigued or confused, well, yes the social segment impacted begins to seem like a part of a zombie apocalypse movie! So what do these people really do, or should I say what is that they are really to do and why and how that helps to begin with?
Well, the easiest example of gate-keepers that you and I would have come across would be those fabled folks from the “HR” departments or from those “secretarial” areas where we spend much of our corporate life either hiring/firing people, dealing with them and their real and apparent skills (those mentioned on the papers) and trying to make that sale (once we are able to get appointments!) respectively! But it is is spaces like these of the corporate world oblivious to the C”X”O’s team and the so called “A” Teams or “Strategic Thinkers” a lot of talent gets wasted and a lot of incompetence gets added even as the higher ups continue to keep writing theories and attend conferences and networking events speaking about how they and their organization is ready for the future! We all have come across the normal painful and dumb practise of the “HR” wanting to know how long an individual will last, if selected and so on and so forth, not realizing that they are in fact hiring because a person who has left the organization was the one they had selected because that person was going to hang around for a long time! Then you have other instances when “empowered groups” are asked to validate new ideas (even as they suffer from some severe intellectual incomprehensibility) and many great ideas are either then killed before they come alive, or the people with great ideas leave and start on their own or worse still this educated evaluation body ends up selecting the worst idea (which is in line with their limited understanding and intelligence) thereby setting up the organization for its own slow and systematic demise.
The problems with the gate-keepers begins as soon as you end up having the wrong people to keep the gates! You see, over critical, over anxious people are really never too dependable when it’s crunch time, for they will screw up for sure and the magnitude of their stupidity can cause damages worth millions- which at times are even not realized unless that new competition comes up and that’s when the people say, “Oh that person used to be working here, next to me!”. Organizations end up paying the price for having the wrong gate-keepers and at times this folly can be fatal to the enterprise’s existence! But then why would anyone in their right mind end up deputing the wrong or an intellectually stagnated gate-keeper?
Well the, answer to this question we must realize that intelligence as a currency is worthless if it is not updated and fine tuned to what the contextual reality is in the moment and needs to be validated and certified on an ongoing basis, this is what makes intelligence so fragile and both- useful and useless at the same time! Don’t believe it ask your friend who had to deal with a salesperson for an hour on a Monday morning, simply because the secretary got outwitted to end up giving that appointment! As far as inability to comprehend the “next big idea” well the whole world is full of examples of how erstwhile colleagues ended up being business competition, simply because someone did not pay heed and attention when it mattered the most! In all probability because someone said, investing that time on an idea- whose time had not arrived- was not worthwhile- all this as “they thought”!
If you thought, corporate gate-keeping was damaging enough (when not practiced the right way), imagine or should I say don’t imagine the kind of mess it can lead societies and nations into when governments of the day end up having intellectually starved officials/ bureaucrats as gate-keepers and policy collaborators for them! This is what empowers corruption, slyness, chaos and ambiguity and whether you are a developed nation or an emerging one or a small nation- doesn’t matter- each nation and society on this planet has this rare breed of failing and faltering governmental gate-keepers in equal measure to the level of political incompetence and societal indifference that is played out! The only aspect (where it differs from the corporate world) about governmental or political gate-keeping going wrong is not about another nation picking up an idea- but ending up providing other nations with multiple opportunities on account of one mistake at gate-keeping related to one subject matter! So if you run a nation, now you know why a lot of politicians end up ruining the nation rather then running it! When multiple gate-keepers fail one after the other even if the political outfit or the government of the day has the best intentions to provide great governance can come to a nought and fail miserably!
By now if you are thanking your stars and thinking that gate-keeping and problems arising from improper or reckless gate-keeping are limited to the corporate world and the political universe, well think again- with like everything else that is human- believe it or not- this gate-keeping begins at home- like charity does and the innocent looking approaches of “not this”, “do this and not that”, go on to often calibrate potential of individuals and end of the day, before you realsie you have already ended up walking on a path which is nothing what you would have really wanted to – had you got a choice- which is what great gate-keeping always does provide!
Great gate-keeping and great Gate-Keepers are often iconic simply because the value that they are able to create by what they effectively do is astronomical- whether it is the ability to get the right candidate to lead a community or a society, or the ability to spot a fine talent who can be then molded into a visionary corporate leader or that finesse to know the next solutions and services that society eagerly awaits- each and every space around factors like these and beyond is often dotted around with some fine gate-keepers who are constantly sieving and evaluating the “next best story” over the horizon. It is their ability to tap into the idea whose time has come at the time that one should- is what makes them truly iconic and a blessing for humanity the world over! So what sets these iconic gate-keepers apart from the mediocre ones’?
Intent and Interest- Iconic gate-keepers are like those curiosity driven babies who want to constantly explore, evaluate and understand what the surroundings are communicating- through people and through objects and through patterns that come and go! This ability of wanting to know more alongside a laser sharp focus on what is that they are hunting for- whether it is talent, Corporate leaders, a Political successor, a great takeover, whatever that is on their agenda- is what makes them so potent and successful- sure enough being human and the fact that they deal with humans- they too will fail at times – but what matters is that their success rate and success magnitude far outweigh their losses and hence what stand out almost always are the stories of the wars that they have won and not about the battles that they have lost!
I leave you here with these thoughts for now, allowing you to practise and reflect upon your own individual style of gate-keeping and do ponder about the times of your life when gate-keeping helped you and when it backfired and how all of that has helped you become who you have become until now! The story of gate-keepers and gate-keeping is a story of humankind’s endless pursuit to reach their aspirations and doing it in the most effective and efficient manner!
Ciao for now, will be back son with another one! Until then be the gate-keeper you want to meet when you knock on the gates- that you desire to be opened for you!