Chris Brogan recently wrote an interesting piece about working within constraints.

He wrote about a drummer, Reggie, who enjoyed doing a gig with a limited drum set. Instead of working with his normal 30-piece drum set, he was forced to work with what he had, a limited drum set. “This is all I have to work with, and I’m going to do that.” It gave him fewer tools but forced him to be more creative.

This got me thinking about the constraints private investigators have too. Time constraints, budgetary constraints, legal constraints, ethical constraints and just general constraints about what investigators can realistically do.

The key to being successful in this business is to work efficiently and effectively within those constraints, but the ultimate goal is to get results for our clients.

Investigators can overcome some of these constraints by taking shortcuts and jumping over legal or ethical constraints or by stepping into the proverbial gray area.

Just in the past few years, there have been investigators who have been caught illegally wiretapping phones, getting unauthorized access to voicemails and illegally accessing bank account information or who thought they were above the law.

After all, it’s easier to illegally tap someone’s phone to get information about what they are doing than to follow them for weeks on end.

I choose to be the drummer who works with what he has.

Sure it may cost me an overanxious client who wants information no matter what it takes, but I like to use my brain and work with what I have. And I prefer staying out of jail.

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