The Things In Your Team That Are In The Green, Amber And Red Zones Approach

Imagine that you lead a team. People are clear on the team’s purpose, principles and picture of success. They have also made clear contracts about their best contributions towards achieving the goals.

There are many methods you can use to ensure that people keep others up-to-date on how things are progressing. Let’s explore some of these approaches.

Some teams ask their people to make monthly presentations regarding their progress. People are asked to present, for example:

The specific things we have delivered in the
past month towards achieving the goals are:




The specific things we aim to deliver in the
next month towards achieving the goals are:




Some teams take another approach. They have a dedicated room or other place that shows the state of play regarding pursuing the various strategies.

People flag up the activities that are currently in the green, amber and red zones. They also suggest what can be done to maintain or improve what is happening in these areas.

One company I worked with had a dedicated room where people constantly updated the progress towards achieving the goal. It had charts that covered the following areas.

The Picture of Success

People could keep referring to the company’s aims that were displayed on one wall. These were grouped in terms of what it wanted to achieve under the 3 Ps: profits, products – including customer satisfaction – and people.

The other walls had the following charts that described the current state of play regarding various activities.

The Green Zone 

People listed the things that were going well. They also provided concrete suggestions regarding how to maintain or build on these activities.

Great workers capitalise on what is working. If things are going well with a particular customer, for example, they explore how to continue providing great service. This can lead to developing the relationship even further.

The Amber Zone 

People described where there were warning signs. They also provided suggestions regarding how to improve these activities.

Great workers worry about things that are in the amber zone. They are concerned that, unless these issues are addressed, these may quickly slide into the red zone. So they focus on how to move these activities more towards the green zone.

The Red Zone 

People listed the things that were going badly. They also gave suggestions regarding how to improve these activities. These could involve making radical improvements or even call for key decisions to be taken.

Great workers think ahead to ensure that, as far as possible, things do not slide into the red zone. Crises do occur, of course, so then it is vital to find positive solutions.

There may be some issues, however, that are continually falling into the red zone. If systems are breaking down, for example, these may well need replacing.

A more challenging issue could be if a particular customer continually makes life difficult. Certainly it is vital to do whatever possible to provide great service. In some instances, however, a customer may prove impossible to please.

They may also prove to be a massive drain on resources. In such cases it may mean deciding to move on from the customer. This can be a difficult but necessary decision.

The Blue Zone

The company also went further and added another area called the blue zone. This was the space for both practical and imaginative ideas.

People listed the specific ideas, suggestions and other things that it might be worth considering to help the team shape a successful future. This led to some of the ideas being implemented and delivering positive results.

Great workers continually look for ways to improve. It can be useful to create different forums for exploring these ideas and then translating some of these into action.

Taking Action

Different teams use different methods for tracking their progress. One approach is to keep focusing on the activities that are in the different zones.

People can walk into the room each morning and get an immediate overview of the team’s work. This approach also enables everybody to see what needs to happen to ensure the team delivers success.

The leaders can, if they wish, provide support to people who are tackling the various issues. If appropriate, they can also clarify the specific things they can do to move things forward.

Some leaders take this step by doing the following exercise. They then do whatever they can to enable the team members to achieve success.

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