These don’t usually go together.
Gatekeepers stand at the thresholds of communities and organisations and bodies of all kinds.
They’re the ones who usually decide who is in and who is out, by interpreting the rules of entrance and acceptance written by their executives – often interpreting in narrow ways because they have not been allowed any creative breadth. They are powerful people, or maybe we should take a second look.
Here are a couple of thoughts.
The gate and world behind the gatekeeper is moving.
What if the gatekeeper of the future focuses on seeing many people in, rather than keeping many people out?
Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book David and Goliath takes another look at what lies behind the famous saying applied to business and sport and politics and much more. He’s suggesting we’ve seen this all wrong. While we might perceive Goliath in his armour as being powerful in this tale, he’s actually severely disadvantaged when he comes up against David, who is, in the ancient world’s military set-up, a projectile warrior.* Gladwell further surmises, the size of Goliath possibly lay in his suffering acromegaly, an over-productive pituitary gland – which, as well as accounting for Goliath’s size, can cause poor sight (Goliath sees David too late, sees the game has changed – this isn’t another infantryman taking him on in “single combat” but a slinger).
Yes, the powerful ones appear extremely big and powerful but carry a great disadvantage; they struggle or cannot see the signals coming from the horizons – signals increasingly important to the world we live in today.
But what if gatekeepers are those who see as people into the game as possible? McNair Wilson includes seven agreements towards hatching new ideas, and even by number six, he’s still encouraging wild ideas to be brought to the game: ‘outrageous, impossible, untamed notions that probably make no sense at first … The alternative to wild is “good” ideas, instantly acceptable-by-all ideas that fail to stimulate, inspire, or motivate.’ We can’t have too many people, too many ideas, too many possibilities. The good ideas don’t seem to be working in our world of violence, injustice, poverty, and disease.
Yes, bring your wild ideas, but how about becoming a doorkeeper to others?
(*In the world of David and Goliath there is cavalry, infantry (which would be where Goliath fits in), and projectile warriors (the slingers on the battlefield). Like a military paper-scissors-rock scenario, slingers take out infantrymen: apparently, the Romans even had a special set of tongs to remove projectiles from the bodies of unfortunate infantrymen.)