Monday, April 21, 2008

Understanding the value of being open

We were at Tryon Palace this past weekend when I snapped this photo of a gate. It reminded me that gates were more than just decorative in the past. In colonial times, gates were a serious affair.

Actually with the resurgence of gated communities, I guess we can say that lots of folks believe that gates will protect them. There are some interesting philosophical points on open and closed gates.

While many people believe that closed software or perhaps more properly proprietary software is at less risk to being hacked, the evidence is exactly the opposite. A recent contest showed that Linux or "Open Source" software was most resistant to hacking.

So do closed gates make us safer? I seriously doubt it. I doubt that building walls or gates is a long term security solution. I actually believe that a close knit cooperative community is the best security that there is. Certainly we have evidence that it works in software. It just might work in human society also.

The gated theory can also be applied in management. There are managers who are afraid of their employees and keep their doors closed. Then there are managers who have a true open door policy where employees are always welcome. No only are they welcome but they are valued partners in whatever task that needs doing.

One man inside a walled palace is not nearly as safe as a man walking among many friends who will do whatever is necessary to help each other.

Sometimes it is better to open the gates and figure out how to work together for the common good than it is build a palace just for the pleasure of one man.

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