Good Friends, Short Supply

I’m slowly working my way through the entire library of Dexter (currently halfway through Season 3) and, at this point, we’ve been introduced to a very interesting character, Miguel Prado, an Assistant District Attorney who’s… well… perhaps, a newfound friend for our protagonist.

In one scene, Miguel (effectively) says:

I see you for who you really are. And, I respect you.

Miguel Prado, Dexter Season 3

It was a moment, that’s for sure.

Dexter has a decision: Does he allow this new person into his life? And, more importantly, how much access will he give him, truly?

[I’m not ruining anything by telling you that Dexter is a serial killer who ends up killing other serial killers as this is the entire premise of the show. Some, like Miguel, believe that this can be interpreted as a “public service” to the local community.]

“Access” is one of the things that I’ve struggled with when it comes to building, leading, and managing humans. How much? How little? For what reasons and when and why?

The “hows” are also important too since the medium through and by which we communicate also has contextual meaning. For instance, telling someone that you trust them, in-person, tends to be a bit more effective, on the whole, than say… a tweet.

After much trial (and error) I’ve decided that the so-called “access” equation is a never-ending arms race in organizational design and community development, internal (e.g. the staff) and external (everyone else), and is too complex of an engineering problem to really, ever, solve.

Consequently, I simply give everyone the same amount of access, all the time. This way I don’t have to censor myself or self-edit on-the-fly. Instead, I can focus on communicating truth and providing value, without holding anything (emotionally) back.

This has its upsides and some downsides as all things have real, visceral, and impactful tradeoffs.

A good example of this is inviting contractors to fully participate in our team’s Slack Channel. I also treat them as-if they are full-time employees.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I expect full-time work! All of that is contractually-bound. What I mean is that I give these folks just as much access to the information that can help them perform their roles and responsibilities. This maximizes speed of decision-making and sits directly in-line with our other operating virtues.

No one gets special treatment, which is how it should work in early stage project(s) and early-stage community building.

A team’s health can be qualified and quantified by how “free flowing” the information within (and without) the organization. The more gating controls that the CEO has the more they end up doing.

No thank you.

Good friends are in short supply these days. And, if you’re running short on good friends, well, it doesn’t take too much to get things started.