Swift Straw Blog

An Octopus in a Sock

leadership, parenting, learning

In his book “Never Split the Difference”, hostage negotiator Chris Voss always does two critical things.  He makes the person feel like they are in control by leading with questions, and he mirrors or repeats back to them what they just said so they feel heard and understood.  Both tactics are...

Fish Climbing Trees


The best leaders know how to create a game plan based on the unique strengths of their individual players.  As an example, a great football coach doesn’t run the same offense every year, they custom make the right offense based on the strengths of their players that year.

Catapult Opportunity

leadership, opportunity

A fancy title does not make someone a leader.  A well-known name does not make a company the leader in their space.  In Kim Powell’s book “The CEO Next Door”, she refers to "catapult opportunities" as the opportunities that catapult an individual person or a company to become the leader in their...

The Overnight Success Myth

leadership, business, strength, efficiency, improvement, perseverence, success

“I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night.”  Ray Kroc 

An Improvement Per Day

leadership, business, innovation, efficiency, improvement

I got an email late yesterday from a team member that had discovered a huge process improvement. After months in the fishbowl, it finally clicked. While we are heavily focused on the traditional proprietary protections, I couldn't help but appreciate how powerful continuous improvement is when...

The Hedgehog

leadership, business, innovation, achievement, strength

There is an old story about a fox that would constantly scheme about how he was going to attack a hedgehog.  He came up with elaborate plans and even tricks. But, inevitably, at the last second the hedgehog would simply roll into a ball with his quills sharply deterring the fox from further...

Game of Gladiators

leadership, business, teamwork, achievement, strength

James Stockdale was a US Navy vice admiral and aviator that was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, during which time he was a prisoner of war for over seven years.  He endured unimaginable torture and constantly battled their attempts to use him for propaganda.  In Jim Collins book, ...

First Who, Then What

leadership, business, team building, teamwork, efficiency

The next principle in “Good to Great” is “First Who, Then What”.  All of the Good to Great CEO’s focused first on getting the right people on the bus before they decided where they wanted to drive it.  They knew that strategy comes after people.  Once they got the right people on the bus and the...

Who Gets the Credit

leadership, business, team building, teamwork, achievement, efficiency

I am currently going back through a great business book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  Since it has been several years since I last read it, I have a much greater appreciation for some of the timeless principles.  In order for a business to sustain greatness, there must be what is known...

The Bagel, or the Line?

leadership, business, innovation, achievement, efficiency

Simon Sinek told a story about he and a friend who came across a free bagel giveaway.  Simon exclaimed “Free Bagel’s!  Let’s go get one!”.  His friend replied, “No thanks.  The line is too long.”  Simon said, “Yeah, but it’s free bagels.”  His friend replied, “Yeah, but look at the line”.  After...

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