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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Dec 20, 2017

Matthew “Griff” Griffin, CEO of Combat Flip Flops, shares his vision to use business... to end war. They make cool stuff in dangerous places. Griff believes lives are rarely lost to error, but opportunities are often lost. He says leaders need to refine their skills to keep their ‘voluntary’ team showing up; and performing... every day.


Key Takeaways

[3:28] Griff lives by a quote from his Pararescue friend Christopher Robertson: “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Master every aspect of anything you plan to do. When his advertising was misfiring and the company was failing, Griff researched intensively, tested and iterated, and hit the bullseye.

[11:14] Griff shares the vision of Combat Flip Flops — use business to end war. They make cool stuff in dangerous places.

[15:11] Griff knew Special Operations would be their core customer from the start and their products would trickle down through society.

[17:40] Paint a good picture of what success looks like and your team will get themselves there.

[20:32] In business, lives are rarely lost to error, but opportunities are often lost. Business leaders need to refine their skills to keep their ‘voluntary’ team showing up and performing every day.

[24:50] Combat Flip Flops designed a Texas Flip Flop for Hurricane Harvey survivors. 100% of the profits from it will be donated to buy food, mattresses and clean bedding for Hurricane Harvey survivors. With help from Mark Cuban they’ve raised thousands of dollars on Indiegogo.

[28:50] Griff talks about scaling from shipping daily from his garage to running a hugely successful company. A portion of every sale goes to support school girls in Afghanistan.

[31:46] Adventure Not War documented climbing Mount Halgurd in Iraq, which was very healing for Griff after his war experiences. 

[36:04] Griff hopes politicians look at Combat Flip Flops and see a better way than war to achieve goals.


Facebook: @Combatflipflops

Instagram: @Combatflipflops

Twitter: @Combatflipflops

Soundcloud: @Combatflipflops

Facebook: Griff

Instagram: @CFF.Griff

LinkedIn: Matt Griffin


CFF News: Floperator Winter Summit of Iraq's Tallest Peak With The North Face

CFF News: Google Named Combat Flip Flops in their 2017 Economic Impact Report

TEDx Tacoma: The power of persistence, creativity, and respect, Matthew Griffin, TEDx


Quotable Quotes


“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” — Christopher Robertson


Overdo it in the research on one end and on the spending on the other end.


“We really want our friends, and our family, and our fellow service members to stop deploying ... to endless wars.”


“We don’t look at this as a one- or a two-year game. We look at this in … decades. We’re going to be at this for a while.”


If you don’t understand something your team is doing, admit you don’t understand it and ask for an explanation.


Your goal is to have your team succeed.


The three tenets of leadership are purpose, direction, and motivation.


Show your team what success looks like and they will get themselves there.


“Cash is king. … I look at money like I look at bullets. … The more I have, the more effective I can be at my job.”


“We scaled 450% last year, and we did it on cash.”


“We can mathematically show you why we have to diversify our products, and we can show you down to the penny.”


“Drop by drop a river is made.”




Matthew “Griff” Griffin is a 2001 USMA graduate, Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran with 2d Ranger Battalion, and CEO of Combat Flip Flops. Mr. Griffin co-founded Combat Flip Flops in Kabul, Afghanistan. Griff specialized in developing solutions for companies growing business in “difficult” locations.


A Graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Engineering Management, Griff served in the 75th Ranger Regiment as a Rifle Company Fire Support Officer with three tours to Afghanistan and one tour to Iraq. Post military, Mr. Griffin moved to the private sector as the Director of Military Sales for Remote Medical International and the director of Special Operations for Protect the Force. Griff currently serves as a logistics officer for Team 5 Foundation.


In the off time, you can find Griff slaying powder on skis, dirt on bikes, or big game with carbon fiber arrows.


Books mentioned in this episode

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't, by Simon Sinek