Now that the Green Bay Packers are World Champions again, and NFL Football is officially done (probably for a long time!), it’s time to get back to the important business of blogging. For February, I want to tell a story called “Slow down for Yellow Lights.”
I was introduced to the concept about 15-years ago at a Covey Training Program called “Helping Clients Succeed” with Mahan Khalsa. It’s excellent training and I am going to take the course again. Mahan has since published a book that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND called “Let’s Get Real, or Let’s not Play.” Essentially the training and the book teach how sales people (and everybody else for that matter) get into trouble by ignoring Yellow Caution Lights.
The tendency for most aggressive salespeople, entrepreneurs, and the other Type A’s that make the world go around is to believe that even if they see Yellow Caution lights, hear warning bells going off or have that little voice on their left shoulder saying “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”, their superior intellect and judgment of people can overcome risks of ignoring these signs. As my wife often says, “You don’t know how wrong you are!”
The Yellow Lights are signals (often non-verbal or unsaid) from our clients, prospects or co-workers that all is not right. From Mahan’s book, “Yellow lights are doubts, stalls, fears, concerns, objections or tough questions. They can be raised by either the client or by you. They can be obvious or subtle.”
So here’s where for once, I slowed down for a Yellow Light and I made the right decision. I am assisting a client in developing a marketing team. We are building a plan with the help of Nathan Misirian from Autumn Consulting (who is really excellent, by the way). We have developed personality profiles with the help of Tony Quartaro and the Culture Index for new team members. We are using Linkedin to recruit the right candidates. And we identified candidates whom we believed to be perfect fits. They have great Culture Index profiles, excellent sales experience, interview well and seemed to be a good fit with our team.
So all that’s left is the reference checking and vetting the background. I have the best question of all time to ask BEFORE doing background and reference checks. And since you have read this far, I am going to pass it along to you for free. It is, “Is there anything in your background or from your references that would embarrass me if I recommend you for this position?”
In one case, the candidate hesitated, touched their lips with their finger and said “Absolutely not.” I knew I was in trouble! So I proceeded to use all my special Sam Richter Internet research tools (see my previous blog) and discovered a person with more drama in their life than Brett Favre! Financial issues, driving issues, conflicts with employers and co-workers. This was a no-go before I even called the first provided reference.
So what is the moral of the story? First, I loved this candidate. In my younger days, I would have made the hire on the spot. Yellow lights? No big deal. A few character flaws? I can overcome them with my superior coaching skills! An employee with lot’s of personal issues? They’ll all go away when they work for our wonderful organization—NOT.
Instead, I saw the clues and cues. I slowed down for the Yellow Light and ultimately passed on the candidate, ultimately saving my client a lot of headaches and money. Thank you Mahan!