Organisational red flags

They’re just not that into you…Organisational red flags

He’s just not that into you ” is the headline from  He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt , the modern girls guide to men, dating and relationships. To save us women from complete denial when we fail to take on board something that is glaringly obvious to everyone around us. Yet  these warning signs in relationships are also organisational red flags.

Organisational red flags are the same as relationship ones

We  convince ourselves that our rose-coloured version of reality is the correct one, even if all the signs scream a  totally different message. We have all been in relationships that are dysfunctional one-sided or perhaps just past their sell by date. If he doesn’t call it’s because he lost his phone, broken both his hands or  (poor darling…)  had to go unexpectedly to some remote wilderness and signal-less location. Despite our excuses and even defence of an indifferent or bad relationship, the reality is we are not  important enough for them to call.

GB ” If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do same for big things.”

They are just not that into us. Sound familiar? 

Well, like many truisms this philosophy is transferable and can be applied to other situations, even corporate relationships. Many employees hang onto old jobs, roles and relationships for all the wrong reasons,  when all evidence is suggesting they should getting a Plan B and getting one fast.


Regional Sales Director of an international logistics company, Frederick had been the designated deputy for the C.E.O. for 9 years and expected to be appointed on his retirement.  He was shocked to find that the position was advertised externally. He had not been appointed on an interim basis or even invited to apply for the job he had been effectively doing in his boss’ absence for many years. He pushed hard to be considered as a candidate and although he went through the interview process with an executive search firm, an external candidate was given an offer. The VP H.R. claimed to be too busy to discuss this with him directly and asked a junior assistant to make the turn down call.

Message: They aren’t that into him. If they had wanted him for the job they would have spoken to him not just for an interview, but maybe even years before and started a development process. There are a lot of organisational red flags here.

GBThe word “busy” is the relationship Weapon of Mass Destruction…..  Remember: Men are never too busy to get what they want.”


Returned from maternity leave in the banking sector and instead of slotting back into her position leading a large team, she was shunted into a solo operator functional role with no teeth. She was excluded from key meetings and responsibilities that had previously been hers were re-allocated to employees who had previously reported to her.  She was told she needed to re-build her reputation after being in the company for five years. She is still working hard to retrieve her position, putting in long hours despite having a small baby. She rationalizes the decisions  in terms of organisational imperatives and gender stereotyping which she hopes she can turn around.

Message: They aren’t  that into her. 1 in 6 women experience contractual difficulties on return from maternity leave. Companies who value their female employees will honour and respect contractual obligations. Will Manuela effect a successful turnaround of opinion? Should she have to go through this exercise just because she’s had a baby?  These are all organisational red flags.  

GB  “When it comes to men, deal with them as they are, not how you’d like them to be.”  


was hired from outside the financial services sector as a C.F.O. designate, to step into the senior role after a three-year grooming period. When the outgoing C.F.O.  left suddenly after only 18 months, under a mysterious cloud, the position was given to a colleague. It was felt that Simon lacked the necessary experience to assume a senior role and as the errant C.F.O.’s protogé, he might be happier elsewhere. Despite  a tough time at the height of the recession, he finally got another job. In the meantime the new appointee isn’t working out and Simon has been approached to return as his departure has left a gap in the organisation.

Message: They aren’t that into him. That was a major red flag. They could not see any potential and would not invest in coaching or other onboarding programmes to guarantee success. None of the other executives were willing to support him because appointing Simon was a risk they didn’t want to take.  

GB “Don’t be flattered that he misses you. He should miss you. You are deeply missable. However, he’s still the same person who just broke up with you.”.

Organisations that value employees look after them and groom them. They treat them with integrity. They provide support for growth and development.  If they have issues they communicate them constructively so that the employee is clear and can make informed choices.

If they fail to behave correctly once, will that be a pattern that is repeated? Are the early warning signals likely to re-occur?  Like in other relationships there is always a chance of an epiphany and the neglectful employer will reform. They are also  strong indications that forming a Plan B would be a good idea.

GBThe quickest way to rectify that mistake (choosing the wrong person) is by learning from that, moving on, and choosing much more wisely in the future.”

What do you think?


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