Please don’t lock this door.

Someone broke into the FBI building by putting a note on a door that said “Please don’t lock this door.” The building then remained open, and the burglar snuck in.

This is obviously a problem centered around culture. I have no doubt the FBI is trained to follow what they are told. However, how do they overcome this situation?

On one hand, you could have procedures that say, always follow the same procedure, never deviate no matter what anyone tells you. In this case, if the procedure said “Always lock the door daily” then no one should have listened to the sign on the door. A “follow the rules” mentality is where things start to go wrong often. The rules, the ones that we’ve written down, can never capture every scenario that the world can come up with, if they come anywhere close to doing so, then they are large, complex, and never fully understood.

So “follow the rules” isn’t a perfect mentality.

For situations like this where this rule should always be followed, a system should be put in place. An auto-locking door should be used. It could have an override for people to get in and out, but it locks again after they leave. For anything that needs to always be followed, don’t leave it to chance.