The CEO mailed an envelope to all upper level executives. The envelope contained three flags, one red, one yellow, one green and the sign above. These were the type of flags you would see on a beach to signal High, Medium or Low Hazards. Each executive was requested to mail an envelope back to the CEO containing only one flag. The flag was to signify the status of the company in the opinion of that executive.
Upon receipt of all envelopes there were three green flags, three yellow flags and three red flags. All executives submitting the green flags were sent a letter with a directive to return a written overview of the previous year’s financials. Executives returning the yellow or red flags were invited to a meeting to discuss a financial strategy for the company. Why?
You see, the company had lost eight million dollars in the previous year. They had lost 1.5 million in the previous quarter but were making improvements each month. The CEO felt it would be impossible for a person that considered losing millions as a favorable condition to contribute to a financial strategy session. The sense of urgency would be missing. He felt their time would be more productive getting a true picture of the company financials. The CEO considered losing ANY money to be an unfavorable condition.
What is the condition of your business? How did it get there? What flag should truly be flying outside your office? Our country is losing jobs every day. Is your management team utilizing the tools available to lead employees and address poor performers? Are they managing results or observing results? Unless your company or division is extremely profitable and sustainable, you should have the yellow or red flag out.
Four good indicators of a red or yellow flag are:
•Number of employees (management or non-management) on a documented performance improvement plan is somewhere between low and zero.
•Presence of the “Never Changing Rubber Stamped Annual Appraisal”.
•Presence of the “Only Address Performance Once A Year Attitude”.
•No management training has been conducted in the past two years.
We are ripening or rotting; improving or falling further behind. We cannot stay the same.
What flag is flying at YOUR company or department?