They say that if you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, red flags just look like flags. It’s also true if you stick your head in the sand. You don’t see any flags at all—red or otherwise.
That’s no way to run your professional life.
It’s important to be realistic and weigh risks against the opportunities—against new business, a new job, a promotion, or even continuing on with a client.
Looking for red flags is the best way to do that.
A red flag is a sign, signal, or symptom that a person does not fit your ideal profile. What might be a red flag in one situation is not in another.
Red Flags In the Communications Industry
Red flags in our industry can take many forms, but the most common are that executives:
- Often want more than they will pay for or that your team has the resources for.
- Have unrealistic expectations.
- Don’t want to put in the work or time necessary for success.
- Want things that are not possible in their timeframe.
It’s our job to find out what they want ahead of time—and help set expectations. But sometimes we miss them. Or, we see them and we ignore them
Develop a System
Ideally, you should develop a system to identify red flags.
You should have a goal to disqualify every opportunity in front of you.
If you’re on the agency side, this means you should attempt to find a reason NOT to work with every, single prospect you talk to. I know, I know. That sounds ludicrous. But if that’s your goal, you’ll get better and better at meeting ONLY with your ideal clients and, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to disqualify them.
If you’re on the corporate or non-profit side and you’re interviewing for a new job or a promotion, treat it the same way. You want to find reasons not to accept the job or promotion. If you can’t find any, you know the job is right for you.
There are, of course, situations where red flags are acceptable. In those instances, obey your gut.
Even if it’s your very first job interview or your very first new business meeting, your gut will tell you whether or not something feels right.
Find reasons to disqualify the job, the candidate, or the client.
Ask questions and dig deep to find red flags.
And then obey your gut. It will never, ever steer you wrong.
Have Your Say
What types of questions do you ask to find red flags? What are your red flags? Share your thoughts in the Spin Sucks community.