Strapping on the Drool Cup

by Jade Handy on April 22, 2010


Google “strapping on the drool cup” and you’ll find a phrase so relevant and broad scoping it will amaze you that you haven’t heard or used it.  If you have, kudos to you. 

I found this quote from – who’d a thunk it – a black belt.  But not the karate kind.  The quality improvement kind.  You know, Six Sigma and the like.  Steven C Wilson is a friendly contact I met through Hawkeye Chapter ASTD

Strapping on the drool cup is a term apparently used by those “In the fighter pilot world (at least in the USMC fighter pilot world) we called that “STRAPPING ON THE DROOL CUP.” Kind of like becoming so enamored with what is going on INSIDE the COCKPIT (there are lots of bells and whistles in the cockpit) that you forget to see Mt McKinley in front of you who wants to ruin your whole day. A “Forest for the Trees” sort of thing.

We all assume focus is good. It is. When appropriate. We just need to be good enough and smart enough to determine when to UNHOOK THE DROOL CUP and just look out the window and when it is necessary to BE THE BALL, DANNY.”

Steven C. Wilson added a new dimension to this.  Another symptom of this condition is not being able to think outside the box, or as Taco Bell says, outside the bun. So conditioned to do things the way we have for so many years, we are often unable to be creative, innovative…we become “stuck on the escalator”.

I like to think of it as being in the moment when strapping on the drool cup is good and like a deer in the headlights when it’s bad.  Seeing others in this mode is kind of like rubbernecking at a traffic accident.  You just can’t help but look.

I’ll be referring people to this post when they ask me how I use the Archimedes Principle and metaphor in business.


I’ll keep on acting ’til they wipe the drool. I like the business. I like to do different parts and diverse characters. I haven’t lost my enthusiasm yet!  –Robert Duvall 

I’m not going to sit on the porch of the old anchorman’s home with a drool cup.  –Tom Brokaw  #negation

If you were to open up a baby’s head – and I am not for a moment suggesting that you should – you would find nothing but an enormous drool gland.  –Dave Barry  #synecdoche

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