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swoop & poop


date. november 02, 2022

loccation. the concrete jungle

inkling.12 | Copyright © Stefano Di Lollo                                                                                       

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inkling 12 swoop & poop

Have you been swooping & pooping on your team? 💩


Have you ever found yourself frustrated that your team “just doesn’t get it” despite having taken the time to "explain it all”? Perhaps the issue isn’t them…it's YOU. You may be the one responsible for swooping and pooping. That’s right, you read that last part correctly.


Despite its infantile name, the “Swoop & Poop” phenomenon (Fischer, Pillar, & Amabile, 2018) is a very real and common situation I’ve both experienced and observed while working in creative spaces and in academia. Today, it continues to turn up during conversations with clients time and time again.


The Swoop & Poop phenomenon is when a leader drops into a meeting with a misguided or ambiguous context regarding a challenge.

This typically leaves a team dazed, confused, overwhelmed, and stuck.


For starters, clarity must be seen as a critical component of stability. Teams will need stability from the get-go so they can get started on the right foot. If you can’t articulate clarity, provide well-defined boundaries, explain expectations, highlight values, or offer people the time and space to grapple with the challenge, then likely you won’t get much from your team.


Why do leaders speed through clarity? It may or desire to match our fast-paced environments, it may be that our vantage point offers us a different perspective (that others may not see), or we waffle with the uncertainty laced within complex problems. Regardless of why we may do it, perhaps it's more important to take note of when we do it so we can take a moment to pause and properly frame or reframe our intention. Checking in for feedback and consensus with others is also a great way to ensure that there's alignment moving forward.


I won't attempt to use this brief post as an opportunity to offer detailed strategies, nor do I want to resort to makeshift "quick tips" or "one-size-fits-all solutions" for a topic that requires deeper exploration and context. Rather, I create inklings as visual catalysts to spark real conversations whether it's in the public comments posted on social media, via direct messages, or in person. Share your thoughts and experiences.

*Every week I create & post a visual representation (an inkling) inspired by my work as an executive coach & leadership development facilitator. 

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