Gatekeepers pop up in many an industry and institution. They can serve valuable roles when done right (such as when the cost of anyone throwing out bad ideas is low) but they can also serve as impediments where they don’t fit in well.
According to Wikipedia a Gatekeeper is:
A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something, for example via a city gate.
Seems like a simple definition but the question that should be asked: is the gate meant to be opened regularly and on demand or should it remain closed? A truism of gatekeepers is that overtime access to the gate being controlled becomes more and more limited. It’s rare that fewer rules are created and more open access given over time.
What does this have to do with real estate? Well, it’s very easy for a real estate team to begin keeping others “not on the team” away from the real estate decisions.
And the problem with this is that real estate is acquired not for the real estate group but for the business – the people using the space. Keeping them out of the process will lead to more problems than it resolves over time. But a gatekeeper traditionally worries about whatever current event is in front of them and not the on-going impact of the aggregate of their decisions.