There are valuable lesson to be found in everyday items. I was reminded of this recently while eating breakfast at a Bob Evans restaurant with my family. The waitress gave each of us a bendy straw for our drinks. Unlike a crazy straw, these bendy straws don’t come pre-crazied. You have to add the crazy yourself. The straws were flexible enough to twist, coil and angle in entertaining ways. So we twisted, coiled and angled them.
As we played with the straws I imagined the creative possibilities with these simple yet interesting devices. And let’s face it, a straw is a moronically simple device. It’s a tube. It’s purpose in life is to help you move liquids short distances. But these particular straws did their job with a flair that made them stand out. Which is a good lesson for us all.
Lesson 1: A simple job done with flair becomes memorable.
If you can find ways to do your simplest jobs with a bit of entertainment you can create valuable memories and experiences. This is the calling card of Benihana restaurants. It happens when a pizza maker tosses dough in the air instead of stretching it on a work surface. It’s not hard to add a little wow and wonder. The payoff lasts a long time in the minds of your audience. This is true if you are an entertainer, a brand trying to create memorable experiences or a parent making pancakes on a Saturday morning. So let your flair flag fly.
After a bit of creative play, my six-year-old son, Magnus, tried to use his straw to straw-up some lemonade. He turned to me and said, ‘It doesn’t work anymore.’ He handed me the straw and I noticed a tiny hole in its bendy region. I had seen this before. The prognosis was not good.
It reminded me of one of the simple truths of straw-ology.
Lesson 2: A small hole ruins the straw.
If you’ve never experienced this before, take a pin, needle or your favorite pricking device, and put a small hole in a straw. Then try to use it. It will no longer suck properly.
If a small hole can ruin a straw, small holes in your business, or team can cause serious problems too. Every business and team has a purpose. My advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, exists to help our clients look more attractive to their most important audiences. Even a small hole in our system could prevent us from delivering our products and services. So we have to continuously scan our system for flaws. Then fix them.
It can be easy to ignore the small things. But if you want to create something great, you have to continuously eliminate weaknesses and keep improving the machine. Watch out for the holes in your straw. Your small issues or flaws may seem insignificant. But they can ruin the integrity of your entire system.
There you have it. Lessons from a straw.
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Thanks in advance for participating in my straw poll.