Green flags and gold flags: looking for the good qualities, too

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.

It’s gold. 

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? 

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Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon