This got me thinking about why there isn’t a designated ‘red flag’ day for businesses … and maybe that’s because leaders should be watching for red flags everyday – even though they don’t.
The red flags I’m talking about are the warning signs that surround us in our business. If we don’t look for them, pay attention to them, we will have unexpected problems that could have been avoided.
Often when we reflect on how a problem surfaced, we identify missing the early warning sign (red flag).
My leadership tip for you this week is to make better decisions by dramatically increasing your level of attention to red flags. Look for them, identify them and act upon them.
Put a red flag on your desk to serve as a reminder to watch for them.
Think about this … where do you look?
Example 1: Look when you are hiring people … what one or two words did the candidate use in the interview that could be a red flag? How about the reference check red flag? How about the real red flags in their resume?
Example 2: Look at your vendors … is everything they do in compliance with what you expect them to do? Has there been a shift in their practices? Do they have a high level of turnover in their organization?
Example 3: Look at your customers … are they returning your calls promptly? Do they seem to be operating with consistency? What changes or shifts have you seen lately?
When looking for red flags, there are so many other areas to consider and everyone’s world is different. Only you know where to look for you, so think, where are your red flags? … are they in products, services, people, policies, order file, customer complaints, economic factors, competition … or somewhere else? You tell me!
Exceptional leaders are never in a position of having to say, ‘I never saw that coming’ because ‘red flags’ are their best friend.