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:

The 5 Keys To A Successful Relationship with a Creative Consultant or Vendor


I am often a “vendor.” That means our company, Cooke Pictures is hired by churches, ministry organizations, and nonprofits to consult with them on issues related to creativity, media, and engaging their communities. We advise them on a wide range of issues, from video and short film production, social media, book publishing, the Internet and more. Essentially we help organizations

How To Write Your Personal Biography For A Website, Resume, or Conference


During your career, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to write a biography about yourself for websites, social media, conference programs, membership in professional organizations and more. The problem is, too many people seize that moment to pontificate about themselves as if they’d won an Academy Award or Nobel Prize. But writing an effective bio can do more than just tout your accomplishments – it can really serve to advance your ideas and message. Now’s a good time to re-think your bio, and here’s a handful of important principles to keep in mind:

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:

Why Leadership By Threat Isn’t Leadership


The New Testament book of Mark is a powerful example of who responded to the message of Jesus and who didn’t. Chapter 12 is an especially good example. The people (Mark describes them as “throngs”) loved his message, but those who resisted where those in authority, because they saw his message as a threat. Sadly, too many leaders today attempt to use threats as

What George Washington Can Teach Us About Productivity


Biographer Ron Chernow, discussing his outstanding life of George Washington, recently mentioned how important “focus” was for our first president. Chernow said that at the beginning of his presidency, “[Washington] couldn’t seem to sit down for dinner without 20 people being there—strangers sponging off his generosity, eating his food, drinking his wine. Washington had to create barricades if he was going to be able to function as president. . . . He saw that he needed to

Why You Probably Can’t Change Your Boss


Have you ever worked for an organization you knew had a bad leader, but you thought you could change him or her? I’ve talked to countless frustrated employees who have attempted just that, and I can tell you, it doesn’t work. By the time a pastor, CEO, or other leader reaches that place in his or her career, they’ve been at it a long time and developed a routine. So for anyone to think they can turn on a dime is

Be Careful of People Who Constantly Complain About their Job


Work is hard. It’s hard for me, it’s hard for you, and pretty much everybody else. So when I encounter someone who’s constantly complaining about their job, how difficult life is, or how busy they are, I tend to start ignoring them. It’s not that I’m a jerk, it’s that I find far too many people who try to impress us with how many balls they’re juggling, how difficult their job is, and how their schedule is just crammed too full. Novelist Richard Ford said something similar about writers:

Be Cautious When Hiring Your Family


Although nearly every church, ministry, or non-profit client I’ve ever known hires their family, I always urge caution when doing it.  Sure – there’s nothing we’d all like better than to hire our spouse, children, or other relatives.  The idea of a “family company” sounds great.  But in truth, it doesn’t work as well as you think.  Entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki is direct and too the point, but worth listening to when he says: