You know how to spot red flags. You’re not always sure how to define them, and you’re working on defining it, but when the flag starts waving, you know things aren’t going to be good. The client who doesn’t show up to meetings. The prospect who asks about price first. The applicant who doesn’t want to do the tester project.
We’ve talked about pink flags (not so obvious, and could go either way, and you tend to need more of them to be able to decide).
The obvious inference is that a good quality is going to be a green flag.
But is one green flag enough? If red is danger, green is positivity and hope, but if you’ve got several pink flags, maybe even one red flag, is it enough to have one good quality to overcome everything else?
Actually, green flags are like pink flags. Because of the complexity of human beings, because relationships you once thought were amazing you now see differently, you need more than one green flag to say “YES, this is amazing, so good, going to be the best client ever”. You need multiple green flags. Lots of good things coming together - comments they make, things they say and do - so you feel confident this is going to go well.
The direct opposite of a red flag isn’t green.
This term came up in conversation with one of the team. I’ve recently instituted an open chat time for my team members - a block of time I put in my diary when they know I’ll be around, be available, and can talk about anything. It’s helpful for those “oooh, good idea, let’s talk more” or the “not sure this is working, let’s figure out why” conversations which seem to appear when you’re going into another meeting, or not able to talk about it fully. Anyone can request 15, 20, or 30 minutes within the open chat time, pick a topic, and we’ll talk about it.
After the first one, when two team members wanted to talk about the marketing articles we write, and how we structure and plan those, one of them said afterwards “I loved that - it was like I came to pitch for something. Like Dragon’s Den!” So we’ve renamed it to Karen’s Den.
In another Den session, we were talking about prospects. How we know when it’s going to be a great client relationship, the times we’re not sure, and even clients who work with us for a time and then move on. Was it not a fit at the beginning? Could we have known? Does that simply happen and it’s okay?
We got to talking about pink flags and red flags, and that led us naturally to green flags. “But what about those people who say or do something so amazing, or there are so many green flags waving you want to start working with them instantly because it’s so enjoyable, they’re so creative and curious, and you feel rejuvenated just having the conversation?” I asked.
“Yea!” Kendall said. “Like a gold flag!”
I loved it immediately. Gold is valuable. Costly and hard to find, and also worthwhile. Lasts a long time. Solid, dependable. Beautiful, too. Sparkles and shines. Stands out from the commonplace stones. It also fits with the PF term “marketing gold dust”, which refers to the words your clients say which are better for marketing than anything you could come up with.
We’ve already started using the gold flags term as a team. Pink and red flags for danger or potential danger. Green and gold flags for good or potential glory.
We haven’t fully fleshed it out yet, and we’re still working on our Client Acceptance Process™ which will eventually, like our hiring process, be a system which isn’t perfect but is pretty damn good at weeding out those who aren’t a fit and welcoming in with open arms those who are. Whether a team member or a client, we want to work with people we love. Who make our lives better and we do the same for them. Who help us see differently and be open and lean into our curiosity and creativity.
I’m sure you do, too.
What are your green and gold flags? How do you know?