Whenever I visit client premises, I always make a special point of being polite to the security guards and receptionists. Whether it is a polite hello, a warm and sincere smile, remembering their names or to ask them how they are today. These people are the physical gatekeepers, you cannot access the building to even attempt to do your job without their permission. They can also make your life easier (or harder) should they so want.
Away from these front of house gatekeepers the role of the gatekeeper plays a critical part in any organisation. It is important to identify who the influential gatekeepers are within the areas that we work in or a new direction that we want to grow our networks. The most important people may not always be the person in the proverbial “corner office”, it will also be their executive assistant or perhaps the office manager who is in charge of sourcing and ultimately decides which office or seat moves take place and when. Even the corner office executives know that they must keep on the good side of these powerful and influential people.
Work smarter and be savvy, always aim to find the gatekeepers and invest time to build a genuine and positive relationship with them. They can make a difference by helping you or by making your life harder. For example, a respectful and genuine relationship with the executive assistants is more likely to give you the heads up that the boss who you need time with is in a foul mood and perhaps coming back in a few hours would be better. Miss that heads up and your day could end up much worse than it needed to be.