Using the Power of Architecture to Tell Your Story


In a world where so many churches are drab buildings, or where leaders could care less about building design, I was reminded about the power of architecture after my wife Kathleen noticed Grace Community Church in New Caanan, Connecticut. Their design is really remarkable, and its been covered in major media outlets across the country, allowing them a remarkable way to share their story. In my book “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media,” I have a section called “The Branded Building.” Here’s how I put it:

The Secrets to Having More “Eureka!” Moments


Joseph Guinto, writing in the American Airlines magazine, shares the secrets to having better “aha!” moments. I’m a big believer that real, long term creativity is a matter of showing up every day and doing the work. However, there’s no question that “Eureka!” moments happen, and as Guinto says, we can create an atmosphere where they tend to happen more often.  Along with Guinto’s advice, here’s a few keys that have helped me discover more creative breakthroughs:

The Power of Creative, Thoughtful Design


Steve Jobs said it very well: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” If you’ve ever doubted the ability of great design to change things, then watch this interview with Nike designer Tobie Hatfield about how a new shoe idea solved a problem. After viewing, you’ll realize that creative design may not change the world, but it can change someone’s world:

Leaders: Are You Delegating To Someone Who’s Undermining You?

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In most cases, when an organization hires my company – Cooke Pictures, in Burbank, California – they name someone internally as the “point person” who we deal with on a day to day basis. In some cases, this point person has approval authority, and at the very least dictates the working relationship. In most cases, the person is experienced, responsible, and qualified. But from time to time, that point person can make life miserable. Here’s why:

The Big Secret to a Successful Freelance Career


The freelance life is a challenge. At some point, every employee in America has thought about leaving their job and working for themselves. But the realization that freelance professionals wake up every morning unemployed usually jolts them back to reality. Managing projects, inspiring confidence, being professional, dealing with risk, and more all add up to a successful freelance career, but one thing stands above all others. If you can’t do this, then don’t become a freelancer. The single most important aspect of a successful freelance career is:

How to Sell Your Ideas


Everyone has ideas, but only a few get those ideas made. The truth is, “idea people” are important, but sometimes it seems like they’re a dime a dozen.  That’s why it’s the “execution people” that interest me. Moving your book, movie, business, or whatever idea to the production and funding stage is a challenge. Here’s some ideas to help  make that happen:

Interior Design for Churches – Check Out The Local Anthropologie Store


This is a re-post from a few years back when my wife Kathleen noticed an interesting interview with Ron Pompei from the popular women’s store “Antropologie” in a supplement to Time magazine. As I read about his philosophy of store design, it clicked that we should be thinking this way when it comes to how people experience “church.” In the past, a church was an artistic expression of the community, and from small chapels in the woods, to magnificant cathedrals in major cities, houses of worship reflected meaning. From the overall design, to the smallest details, they told the story of

My Pet Peeve of the Month – Weird Shaped Business Cards

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I’m bringing this post back from the archives, because it drives me crazy.  I know they look cool – those weird shaped business cards. Squares, skinny thin ones, or shapes like TV sets, cameras, books, or houses (if you’re a real estate agent.) But the truth is – they’re a real pain. They don’t fit into a business card folder, don’t play well with other cards in a stack, and generally are difficult to deal with. I know – you’re going to say, “But Phil, you always tell us to be different and stand out from the crowd.”   Yes, that’s important – but

Want to Be More Creative? Try Boredom


Looking back over the history of my ideas, the best ones didn’t happen surrounded by a creative team, in a cool environment, or working for a great organization. The ugly truth is – while I believe in all those things – my best ideas usually happen when I’m bored to death.  Listening to a really bad sermon at church, driving across town, waiting for a movie to start, or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. For whatever reason, when I’m bored, my mind starts to

Is Your Office Inspiring?

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You spend at least a third of your life there. You’re there for most waking hours. It’s where you work most closely with other people. And yet, it looks plain, uninspiring, and probably outright depressing. Your surroundings have more of an impact on your creativity and productivity than you may think. That’s why you need to be more intentional about your