Four Things Influencers Should Know About Trust


When it comes to leadership and influence, we rarely talk about trust. When we do, it’s usually in terms of honesty and integrity. Questions like: “Can I trust you to honor your word?” or “Can you be trusted with finances?” usually come to mind. Those questions are important, but the truth is, trust is a far deeper issue, and when it comes to your team, employees, congregation, or followers, trust may be the single most important connection you can build. To achieve that connection, here’s four principles every leader and influencer should know:

How Do I Know When To Pay For Lunch?

Two Businessmen Having Meeting In Outdoor Restaurant

Whether you’ve asked someone out for lunch to ask advice, pitch your project, network, or just get to know them, you need to know the rules about who pays. The rules used to be pretty clear, but in the last few years, I’ve seen a growing number of people that don’t seem to have a clue about who picks up the check. So whatever station in life you’re in, listen up:

Lessons From Bill Cosby’s Viral Meltdown


When it comes to the multiple allegations of rape pointed at comedian and actor Bill Cosby, many people are asking, “Why now?” Why are these accusations which date back to 2006 suddenly going viral – all these years later? Back then, Cosby made public denials, settled a civil lawsuit out of court and kept his reputation intact – until now. But why it’s suddenly exploded anew can teach us a lot about how reputation management and real or perceived wrongdoing have changed in the age of

Leaders: The Problem With Valuing Everyone Equally


The Bible is clear – everyone has intrinsic value and worth.  God loves us all and there are no favorites in His kingdom. As leaders, we try to live that out every day. The problem is, we get into trouble when we use that principle when evaluating our team. Every church, ministry, nonprofit, or business has employees or volunteers, and while we should appreciate them all equally, some of those employees bring greater value to the table. Throughout the Bible, God chose different people for

Christian Leaders: Is it Time to Cool the Hype?


At different times in history, and for various reasons, Christian leaders have fallen victims to hype.   The dictionary defines “hype” as “extravagant promotion.” In other words – it’s usually a lie, even if our purpose is noble. Today, we’re in another massive “hype cycle.” How many times have you heard about some Christian book, teaching series, conference, or media program that it would “impact this generation,” “change the world,” or “shake nations?”  I believe one of the single biggest reasons the secular culture marginalizes Christianity is

A Great Speaker Should Also Be a Great Doer


President Obama has always taken a lot of heat for being a eloquent speaker who has difficulty executing his grand ideas. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, in response to the President’s speeches on leaker Edward Snowden, Russia, China and Syria, Russell Mead writes: “The president, like many products of American elite education, seems to believe that admirable sentiments eloquently expressed are good deeds well done.”  Agree with Mead or not about the President, he’s right about

Character: Who You Are When You’re Alone


The title of this post is an old adage – probably one you’ve heard a hundred times. But I was reminded of it’s importance last week when I visited Canada to speak at a private, nonprofit event. I arrived into the Calgary airport a few hours before the event, and with some time to kill I noticed there was an outlet mall near the airport. So I pulled in, and went to the local coffee shop to check my email and catch up on work. After an hour or so I decided to take a walk around the indoor mall. Now here’s the scenario:

The Schlitz Mistake and What Beer Can Teach Us About Excellence


Pastor Mark Jeske in Milwaukee told me a great local beer story recently. He said that in the 1970s, Robert Uihlein, CEO of Schlitz Brewing instituted a string of cost-saving measures that gradually changed (and many would say cheapened) the taste of their flagship beer. He apparently thought the American public was just too ignorant to notice. It worked for awhile, but his strategy was eventually outed, and the word of mouth from angry customers caused a free fall in sales. In about 15 years the company lost 90% of its market cap and was finally sold to Stroh’s. One of America’s most popular beer brands crumbled, largely because 

The Power of Moral Courage


I define the term “moral courage” as a set of personal principles you live by that are unchanging. Some people would call them moral absolutes, but however you choose to name them, they help create a life of moral purpose. Without moral purpose you will never reach your full potential. In another generation, moral courage would be only discussed in religious terms, but today even secular corporations are embracing the concept. I believe it’s because after fifty years of moral drift in this country, we are just beginning to see the damage from the pursuit of unchecked sexual freedom, rampant cheating, and a culture of “me first.” Check out the self-help section of the average bookstore and note how many titles focus on

Evangelistically Speaking – in Religion and Politics


I find it interesting (and somewhat sad) that pastors and evangelists have exaggerated so much for so long, that people have actually created a term for it:  “evangelistically speaking.” When Christian leaders – the people who should be the most honest – have such a history of exaggeration that we generate a special term for it, that’s rather embarrasing to say the least.  I’ve seen it many times.  I’ve filmed religious events with audiences in the hundreds, but the evangelist reported later that “thousands attended.”   Others where thousands showed up, but he described it later as “tens of thousands.”  It’s rather ironic that so many try to