5 Steps to Statusing Red

By Nicole Hradek

5 Steps to Statusing Red.png

dateSun, Mar 15, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

I really hate the f-word: Failure. But it happens, especially when it seems like you have a lot going on in one week. Your focus was elsewhere and you have to status Red on a KPI or Priority in your weekly meeting prep, but that’s OK. You’re an A-player and there’s always next week to get back in the race. It’s one thing to status Red; it’s another thing to understand why you’re Red and what you’re going to do to get yourself to Green.

Here are 5 steps to follow on your journey back to success:

Step 0: Set great success criteria.

Before you take steps to status Red, you first have to know what success and failure look like each week. When you create your KPI or Priority, make sure you set solid Red-Yellow-Green success criteria. We have many blogs, tips, and resources to help you create success criteria so please feel free to explore - but after you read this post, of course.

An example of a KPI that has great success criteria is my personal KPI - Number of Blogs Submitted. My green success is one per month (yes that’s a low number, but it’s realistic for me for now). Red is 0 blogs submitted. I status Yellow when I have something stewing but not quite ready to submit. It’s very clear what success and failure look like. In January, I was RED for four weeks in a row - the entire month! Well, it looks like I already have Step 1 checked off - to everyone who reads this!


Step 1: Admit you are Red.

It’s cliché to say that admitting you have a problem is the first and hardest step, but on the contrary, with Rhythm, this should be the easiest part. Due to Step 0, you should have a clear picture that you are in need of some help this week. It may be a challenge to admit that you failed and that it’s time to ask for assistance, but this is the best part! Now you can collaborate with your teammates to get back on track to Green. Don’t even think twice about not statusing at all. This is a time to learn from your mistake and to work with your team. In case you are thinking about leaving your box blank this week, I wrote an earlier blog about not statusing that you should check out… but later. 

Every week in January when I had my meeting with myself, I had to swallow my pride a little when I checked off the box next to Red for my blogs. I do not like failing, and admitting it to my peers is even worse, but I had to because it is clearly stated if I did not submit a blog, then I am Red. In a way, it lit a fire under me to start brainstorming so I could maybe at least be yellow next week.

Step 2: Explain your Why.

Why are you Red? Did something else take priority this week? Did you test assumptions that ended up not working? Maybe a sales call was cancelled and you needed that call to remain Green. Whatever happened, make sure you comment on why your KPI or Priority is Red. This shouldn’t be an excuse but it should be hard facts and observations. 

Why did I not submit any blogs in January? I was focused on helping clients (you guys come first) with their Rhythm accounts for the new year and had two major projects that had tight deadlines. There was also the fact that I had no idea what to write about. 

Step 3: Explain your What.

Now that you thought about why you are in the Red zone, next think about what you’re going to do to get yourself Green. Come up with a game plan. If you don’t have a plan, then your “what" could be: ask team for input. This step is critical for getting back to Green. Take some extra time during your weekly meeting prep to really think about what needs to be done and make note of it in your comment after you explain your “Why."

What did I do about my Red status and lack of blogs? Well, I first finished my projects, which opened up my bandwidth. Then, I received feedback on ideas for what to write about. Yes - this blog came from brainstorming with my genius teammates! 

Step 4: Prepare to discuss in in your Weekly Meeting.

When coming up with your Why and What, be prepared to bring this up in your Weekly Adjustment Meeting. This is the adjustment part. You told your team, “Hey, I missed this week because stuff happened, but here’s my plan. What do you think?” Your genius teammates will have thoughts to share so make sure you have a place to store all these ideas, like maybe comment on your Why & What comment in Rhythm. Then, you have a place to refer back to these ideas when needed.

I sacrificed writing a blog because I knew my other teammates were able to keep writing. We’re very transparent when it comes to sharing with each other when we are feeling full.  I made sure to tell my team that I had all that I could handle, and they reported they could handle their blogs and keep writing the awesome content they always do. Once my “what” stopped being, “I’m focused on projects,” to “I have no idea what to write about,” that’s when I started keeping track of ideas. And guess what - in weeks 5-7, I was Yellow! This lovely written piece of art was in the making, and in week 8 I’m back to Green.

Step 5: Go Green!

Now that you have collaborated with your team about your plan of action, it’s time to attack! Get focused, prioritize, hold yourself accountable, and give and get support from your teammates along the way.

As you can tell, I was able to status Green for this week! I submitted this on the last day in February, but it counts as my 1 submission for the month. I constantly bounced ideas off of my fellow office dwellers to keep myself out of Red. The snow/ice days in Charlotte, which forced me to work from home, helped me focus, too. 

Due to forecasting that the next few weeks are going to be a little busy due to the quarter turnover, I started writing other blogs as well. So when I have time to go back to those ideas, they’re sitting pretty, waiting to be developed. Also, I can still status Yellow so I don’t have to be Red for the rest of the quarter!


Now that I have admitted I fa… failed to all of you (though it wasn't easy), I hope this brings some comfort in knowing it’s OK to admit it as long as you do something about it. Remember to comment in Rhythm on the KPI or Priority or write down “Why” you’re Red and “What” adjustments you’ll make. Please refer back to other posts about success criteria and weekly meetings. We are here to help you be successful every week in your 13-week race!


Nicole Hradek


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images