Can you identify the Red Light Signals?

Don’t just bulldoze on, wishing and hoping that things will get better.


Ignore the Red Lights Signals at your peril

Every business will encounter problems, no matter how well established. While you might be very good at what you do, you need to go beyond your gut feel in order to recognise danger signals, the Red Light Signals.

Here a few examples of Red Light Signals that should attract your attention and consideration whether you are a business, non-profit, advisor or concerned with your community:

  • Strained relationships, short tempers, angry looking people who are short with you.
  • No business model, business plan, value chain or budget in place.
  • The hostile or depressed atmosphere in the business.
  • A low employee or family morale.
  • No or poor programs to help the employees, no health and well-being.
  • People overwhelmed or suffering from work overload.
  • Changes in leadership and management.
  • Poor performance, consistently failing to meet budgets.
  • Poor governance and risk management.
  • Small and inadequate customer base.
  • Low participation rate.
  • Dictatorial, on incompetant management.
  • Poor quality or inadequate equipment being used.


“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”. Frank Clark


  • No cash in the bank, poor cash flow.
  • Poor maintenance of the facilities and equipment, untidy environment.
  • No air conditioning or heating.
  • Poor financial and accounting records and controls.
  • Inability to recruit enough good volunteers.
  • No marketing or customer database for the business output.
  • Poor or unenthusiastic references to the business, management, advisers.
  • There is a big list of complaints, internal and external.
  • Excessive dead or obsolete stock or poorly organised inventory.
  • Poor relationships with the general public.
  • Lack of creativity and innovation.
  • A Large number of overdue debtors.
  • Hostile creditors.
  • People are always complaining when you visit them.
  • Over reliance on one project, or product, or customer, or employee.
  • Absenteeism, employees arriving late for work.
  • Diverting attention and resources from the business’s core activities.
  • Expanding the business too quickly.
  • Chronic health problems.
  • Noisy environment, most people hate excessive noise.
  • Inadequate funding initiatives and strategies.
  • No information and knowledge management system.
  • Old technology being used, slipping behind, ‘have-not’ mentality.
  • Poor infrastructure squeezing the opportunity to attract new businesses.
  • Low equity, over-reliance on borrowings, or low working capital base.
  • Use of business funds for personal pursuits.
  • No succession plan.

Look for the Red Light Signals and fine tune your approach and processes to meet the immediate challenges, as well as overcome problems before they take root and become serious. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it covers many of the common issues that cause business, non-profits and communities problems and frustrations.


[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience

Over the years I have come to experience all of theses Red Light Signals. Each to a more or lesser degree depending on the size and type of organisation and the experience of the owners and managers.

If you have a good advisor, facilitator, coach, mentor or consultant they should be able to identify your Red Light Signals and advise you how to address each one. Keep in mind that some of the Redlight signals identified may only be a symptom of a much more serious issue.




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