I was driving along one of the many back country dirt roads in the are and came across one of my neighbors working in the yard. I waved from the car and she of course waved me into the driveway. From the corner of my eye I saw this old tree on the side of the house with the warning sign posted and felt myself hesitate a bit. Perhaps it was unconscious but, I think most of us are trained to heed warnings especially signs painted in someone's hand (those are the one's they wanted done right away and made in letter that mean business). I walked up her driveway and, like neighbors do, we said our "how are yous" and "how ya' beens". I mentioned the sign. She said, "What sign?" I pointed to the tree and she laughed. "I never noticed it before but, it explains a lot." Our conversation went on about how people gave her odd looks when she waved as they went by and how this sign, the one she was unaware of, had been sending mixed signals to strangers ever since she moved in.
Of course I marinated on that on the way home about how folks who acquire businesses or even books of business may not be aware of the signs the previous owner sent out and how now, the signals could be mixed. It's true too for people who outsource their work to third parties- what are those folks saying about your business when you are not their managing it? This sign was out of my friend's line of vision and much higher than either she or I could have placed without a ladder and, had I not commented on it, how long would it have been there sending out mixed messages to neighbors, friends, and business contacts (she has a home based business)? What signs are you unaware of that could be sending an inconsistent message?