A golden path to the C-Suite: The 5 ways to become a Golden Gatekeeper

Carmen Sample
Jun 20, 2017 · 4 min read

As our companies grew it became impossible for me to be the stop gap for all the things….

As our companies grew it became impossible for me to be the stop gap for all the things….though believe me, I tried really hard to hang on to them. In one year we developed over 500 workflows with thousands and thousands of tasks that are executed daily across our companies. No matter how hard I tried I simply couldn’t get below 800 emails in my inbox every day. Does that number make you nervous? It made me nervous too…and kind of sick to my stomach. I had to finally say “Uncle”. I wised up and starting hiring high level people that were able to gate keep processes effectively. The businesses definitely needed it, but I needed it more. I realized there is a whole tier of necessary people that are intentionally not working “in” the business, but are working “on” the businesses with me. These are the high-level Directors and Strategists that are my right hand AND my left hand that work daily to keep the company pressure contained, organized, and moving forward. The C-Suite path is paved in golden bricks of discipline, forward-thinking skills and effective systems implementation.

You can’t build a golden empire without some glittery golden gates — and the gatekeepers are the CEO’s new best friends.

#lockitup is our 2017 mantra, thanks to Ms. Cataldo (Our Sample version of a Kardashian — Sampleshian, perhaps?). Our gatekeepers keep it “on lock”. Effective “gatekeepers” are worth their weight in GOLD. Pounds and pounds of gold.

When I watch someone gate keep well it is because they are effectively facilitating the 5 golden steps that are building the company systems and ultimate pathway to success:

  1. Track the information flow. When working on company workflows and processes there are excessive emails, tasks and verbal communication. To be honest — As the CEO, I am just skimming these at this point and am retaining about 10% of the info — and I’d like to not see the info at all. I need you to step in, read all the words carefully, interpret the information and contain the information in a box with a pretty bow. Track the details, process the information and make sure people know WHAT you are doing with it.
  2. Herd the Cats. There are lots of people and personalities and opinions. Please make sure they are doing what they should be doing. Hold a line and keep putting people back on it. Humans make human errors — your job is to catch those errors, redirect them, and keep them focused on the goal. Yes, it can be time consuming to constantly correct and to chase people down. Sometimes gatekeepers do a lot of chasing.
  3. Do something about it. You are the only one that will. Consider yourself the final step — if it isn’t done by you, it won’t be done. Own the awesomeness of that responsibility so that I don’t have to. Please. I beg you. You have done the analysis, you see the trends…..now it is time to IMPLEMENT. Build the systems, assign the tasks, watch it flow (that is my favorite part and I’m secretly jealous about watching you do it).
  4. Keep the pressure contained. When the pressure starts to rise you have to delegate it back down. Don’t just use a bucket to get the water out of the boat ineffectively — attach a hose to suck it out. Yes, you will have to probably make the hose and cut the opening….you have permission to do all the things you need to do to push the pressure back down. Similarly, as pressure from a workflow silo increases there are leaks. Your job is to notice the leak, plug the leak, engineer a solution, implement the solution, and then fix all of the other similar silo workflows. Then communicate when it was done and how it was done. Boom.
  5. Push the Agenda Forward. You know the next thing to do, so please just prompt it and get started. Don’t wait for me to prompt it, because by the time I noticed it the problem is often far bigger than necessary. I trust your judgment and I fully support you just trying something if you aren’t sure. A lot of my time is spent simply prompting the next step. Yes, it requires some rallying and enthusiasm and yes, more correction. Pave the way for everyone to follow — and they will. Everyone loves a golden path, after all. :)

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