Before there was Austin Powers and all the brilliant send-ups of James Bond films, there was Get Smart, a 60’s sitcom that was an hilarious spoof of secret agent films and TV spy shows. One of my favorite parts was the intro where Maxwell Smart had to go through four or five gates just to get to the phone booth so he could dial a secret code so he could get into CONTROL’s headquarters. Pretty secure!
I think one of the key messages (I am sure it was completely unintentional at the time) is that each gate is closed by default, and in order for Maxwell to keep getting closer to the entrance to headquarters, the gate had to open somehow. It seems that it might have been just as easy to have every gate left open by default, and if a “bad guy” came along, they would all slam shut.
How many gatekeepers are there in your organization who keep doors closed by default and only open them as a last resort? I ran into one today. There’s an important initiative underway at one of my clients. If we’re going to make this initiative happen quickly, a lot of gates have to be open by default and closed only if there’s a compelling reason to slam it shut. But if you open a gate, you lose “power” because anyone can walk through unless you stop them. On the other hand, if the gate is always closed, nobody gets in unless you let them. That’s power…
But if you want to be a nimble, innovative company these days (which everyone swears they want to be…) where things move and change quicker than ever, you need to give up some power to get smart…Uncategorized