Why Brainstorming Rarely Works


Brainstorming is popular – way popular – especially in corporations and nonprofit organizations. But the truth is, research has shown over and over that people produce better quality ideas when they start by working alone. And yet, companies, nonprofits, and churches have enshrined “brainstorming” as the #1 go-to method for coming up with new ideas. Why?

How Social Media Hashtags Can Backfire

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Social media “hashtags” have become a ubiquitous part of posting, since it expands our visibility and helps generate more viewers. They’re particularly helpful with generating momentum for a cause or campaign. But what many leaders don’t realize is the possibility that hashtags can backfire. Recently, American Airlines posted a campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #GoingForGreat. It’s purpose was to motivate followers to share on social media how they’re AA’s biggest fan. Here’s the exact post:

What’s Your Organization’s Priority?


Short blog post, powerful question: Is your organization run by the best ideas, or an organizational chart? Leadership is important, but as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs put it: “You [the organization] have to be run by the best ideas, not hierarchy. Otherwise, good people don’t stay.”  It’s one of the biggest reasons teacher’s unions (and other unions as well) are in trouble across the country. They’re based on

Everybody Has an Agenda: You Need One Too


When Christians get critical about Hollywood, the gay community, environmentalists, or others, we always bring out the “agenda” card. “Beware the gay agenda.” “Hollywood has a secret agenda.” “This global warming agenda.”  I actually saw a comment on my blog recently warning me that “Hollywood’s agenda is to sell tickets.”  Duh. What a surprise. Here’s the truth:

Four Steps to a Better Social Media Bio

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The biography you write for your various social media platforms is critical for connecting you with people. In many cases, you don’t have much space, and with platforms like Twitter, an intriguing bio is one of the top reasons people decide to follow you. And yet, most people put very little thought into a good social media bio.  Here’s some key suggestions:

ExFEARiential: The End of Branding?


Although this promo video from John St. Advertising Agency in Toronto is a parody, it points to the ridiculous extremes we’ve gone to when it comes to branding.   From a religious perspective, when I wrote my original book “Branding Faith” it was a dirty word inside church and ministry circles and the concept was rarely mentioned by pastors, leaders, or church members.  A number of years later when I updated and revised the book to “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media”, I noticed there are

Fighting at Christmas, And Why Your Target Audience Isn’t Necessarily Like You


When most advertisers create media campaigns or television commercials, they usually assume the target audience is similar to them. Church, ministry, and nonprofit communicators often do the same. But a recent story in the Wall Street Journal reminded me just how different people are – and why it matters for sharing our message.  For instance, we normally think of Christmas as a time of love, sharing gifts, and loving the time spent with family. But recently, the journal reported a survey conducted by British hotel chain TraveLodge:

Have You Been Passed Over for Leadership Because You’re Creative?


Early in my career I worked for a very large media organization. Although I was the person in the media department the founder spent the most time with, and was the person who made most of the creative decisions surrounding the media programming – and perhaps most important – I was the person the employees looked to when a decision had to be made, I was continually passed over to be head of the department. Time and time again, the choice went to someone far less creative – sometimes, with little or no media experience at all. Even back in my twenties I understood that management has a

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