Batman: What have I told you about trusting dangerous and obsessive criminal geniuses? Wonder Woman: To be fair, you tend to warn everyone about everything.  — Landry Q. Walker

I was in a room with one door leading in and out. The door locked with a deadbolt so it was impossible to open the door unless it was unlocked.  On the door was a large sign that said “Unlock Door Before Leaving”.

It made me wonder if someone had at some point found themselves trapped in this room and pounded until someone told them the secret to their great escape.

The reason signs like that fascinate me is that they are often an indicator of how organizations handle problems in the even more important areas, such as leading high-value projects.  I too often see organizations put lots of checks in place to make sure smart people are not doing stupid things.  

Some of these checks are extremely valuable. However, it is too often overdone.  When a stupid thing happens on a project, even though it is a one-time thing, there are updates made to the project review checklist.  The checklist keeps growing as the organization attempts to protect everyone from every mistake made.

If you do things like this, over time you will find your extremely talented people spending too much time being involved in reviews which amount to making sure they are “unlocking the deadbolt before exiting the room”. 

Some organizations focus on enabling the leading edge to run fast. They hire great people. They provide training. They provide coaching and mentors.  They ask questions such as “what will help you go faster to a higher value?”

Others put the focus on having lots of people and checks in place to make sure no one is locked in that room. 

Where is your organization focused?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

The door had a deadbolt and was the only door in and out of the room. Hmmmm

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