Archives

  • What’s Important To You? Whatever It Is, Invest In It.

    Years ago, after spending most of my career on an airplane, I finally had a meltdown. I thought if I have to get on one more flight I’ll kill myself. But then I felt God spoke very clearly to me and said: “But you have no other skills. This is all you’re good at doing.” […]

  • Leadership Lessons From an 8-Time Super Bowl Coach

    He took a lot of crazy heat over “Deflategate,” but New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has left his mark. After eight Super Bowls, he’s doing something right. And if you take the time to study his coaching techniques, you’ll find a significant number of areas that would easily transfer to leadership in any organization. […]

  • Stretch Armstrong and the Power of Resilience

    What my daughter taught me about not giving up… When our daughter Bailey was young, one of her favorite toys was the “Stretch Armstrong” doll. It was a super hero (I think), and you could twist, bend, stretch, and smash him into any shape, and he would bounce right back. To this day I have no […]

  • What’s the Hard Decision You Need to Make?

    There are business, nonprofit, and church leaders who at this moment have one major obstacle standing between them and success: The inability to make a hard decision. Hard decisions come in all shapes and sizes. They could be a policy that needs to be changed, an approval that needs to be made, an approval that […]

  • The 10 Keys in Designing a Creative Culture

    It’s no secret that culture is more important than vision. I’ve worked in creative, vibrant cultures where original thinking is valued, people listen to each other, and wonderful things happen. On the other hand I’ve worked at organizations where you could literally feel the oppression when you walked into the building. Those destructive cultures often […]

  • Productive is Good, Creative is Better: Do You Create ‘Creative Time’?

    I have to admit being a bit of a Productivity Nerd. I have numerous cross-platform to-do apps on my computer, including Microsoft To Do, Things, and OmniFocus. (Currently, Things 3 is my favorite.) I’ve read all of David Allen’s books, track with my friend Michael Hyatt, and follow the guys over at Asian Efficiency. In […]

  • Leaders: Worry Less About Leaving a “Legacy” and More About The Problems Staring You In The Face

    Every leader wants to leave a legacy. We understandably want to make a big difference and make an impact that lasts long after we’re gone. But over the last few years, there has been so much publicity and talk about “big ideas” and “legacy” that some leaders have gotten lost in the hype. Especially when […]

  • The best people can change everything: How to spot great talent

    To be a great leader in the 21st century, you’ll need the ability to find and recruit talented members of your team. Particularly when it comes to creative teams, spotting gifted and talented people is absolutely critical, and yet I’m amazed at the poor hires organizations often make. To help you avoid the pain, here’s […]

  • Why Creativity Doesn’t Happen by Committee

    I’ve written before that “brainstorming” simply doesn’t work. If you want to get together with friends and kick around a few ideas, ask for their advice, or discuss possibilities, great. But don’t think for a minute that a group will come up with the innovative, breakthrough idea.   I love bring around creative people. I […]

  • How to Pitch Your Ideas Successfully

    How can you make your dream their dream?  It’s a great question if you’re a creative person. In many ways, the ability to present or “pitch” your ideas is one of the most important things you can learn in business – or life. Whether you’re trying to produce a movie, publish a book, get a […]

  • A Timeless Message from the Ad World Every Organization Should Hear

    If you were a fan of the TV series “Mad Men” (like I was) then you should know that real life advertising legend Bill Bernbach was one of the models for the character of Don Draper. In May of 1947, Bill was 35 years old and the Creative Director at Grey Advertising in New York […]

  • When it Comes to Your Career or Calling, it’s Never Too Late

    Here’s more proof that you should never give up on your dreams… Just in case you ever wonder (as I sometimes do) that your best work is behind you, here’s an encouraging message from The New England Journal of Medicine: An extensive study in the U.S.A found that the most productive age in human life […]

  • Leaders: The Window for Change Is Closing

    If you’re a leader, you know just how hard it is to get people to change. There’s a joke in Baptist circles that if you want to plant a new church, just change the color of the carpet, and half the church will split off and start a new one. I wrote my book Jolt! […]

  • The Leadership Lessons from Joe Biden and Afghanistan

    The documentation of President Biden’s decisions surrounding the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan are now legion. But aside from the tragic results those decisions have created, it’s worth looking at what leaders could learn from this debacle. In coming years, we’ll have a chance to see much deeper into this situation and how much it tarnishes […]

  • Why leaders must be transparent in today’s age

    Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported on an interesting scandal in the Catholic Church. Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., was elected general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2020. He’s been described as the highest-ranking American Catholic cleric who is not a bishop. Related: […]

  • Entrepreneurs with side gigs – There’s no shame in having a day job

    For those of you reaching for the creative stars – who want to direct a feature film, write the great American novel, create the ultimate app or turn the world upside down – early in our career, that’s all we can think about. But before long the rising need to pay our bills comes screaming […]

  • How To Lead When Your Team is Smarter Than You

    On numerous projects during my career, the stakes have been high. Once I directed a short film for Dentsu Advertising in Tokyo – at that time the largest advertising agency in the world. Another project was directing an expensive music video that launched a pop album with Universal Music Group. Then there was an live, […]

  • Digital Revolution “More Significant Than You Think”

    When technology made the switch from analog to digital, most people thought it was simply about getting a new TV set. But the transformation that was ushered in at that moment was one of the most significant changes in history and it’s important that leaders understand what it means. We all acknowledge the incredible revolution […]

  • This Is The Moment To Reinvent Yourself, Your Organization, and Your Career

    Years ago I wrote a book called “Jolt! Get The Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing.” I wrote it to help people cope with the accelerating change that I saw coming in the culture. One thing I discovered during my research was that for most people, “change” is one of the most difficult challenges […]

  • Leaders: Stop Requiring Your Personal Approval For Everything

    Leaders: Do you trust your team? I’m amazed at the number of projects, presentations, initiatives and other aspects of business and ministry that the top leader requires their personal approval on before the team can move forward. I understand that need in the beginning. Perhaps you’re launching a new social media campaign, podcast, product, logo, […]

  • Even The Greatest Leaders Can Be Victims Of Timing

    Watching the draft process for professional sports, you realize pretty quickly that the best college players in the country regularly get selected to pretty poor teams. Even veteran players must adapt to changing personnel as teams shift their roster from year to year. As a result, no matter how great a quarterback may be, he […]

  • How to Deal With the Whingers On Your Team

    Most creative teams are going to have at least one member who’s a whiner. Whiner’s focus on the negative, and thrive on complaining – often about the most insignificant things you can imagine. According to the Wall Street Journal, research indicates that productivity can be damaged by working alongside a chronic complainer. Exposure to non-stop […]

  • Where Are The Churchills Today? The Pandemic and Crisis Leadership

    The other night I watched a fascinating documentary about the relationship between Winston Churchill and film producer Alexander Korda. During the challenging days of World War II, Churchill launched an international effort to use filmmaking to inspire and persuade the United States to join the allied cause against Hitler.  Then the next morning, before boarding […]

  • How Freelancers Can Emerge Strong After the COVID Shutdown

    A successful career is as much a mental game as an employment game. That means your mindset is far more important than you may think.  So when we start emerging from the COVID lockdowns, how you approach the job market will be critical, and here’s a few thoughts about why I think freelance professionals will […]

  • How Much Would it Take to Buy You Away from Your Dream?

    Words like “stability” and “safety” are what financial advisers try to make happen for their client’s money.  But is that what you’re looking for with your life?  Better yet – what are you willing to risk to accomplish your dream? In my book “Jolt” I tell the story of the movie “Up in the Air” […]

  • What to Do When People Reject Your Ideas

    If you’re a creative person, at some point you’ll find a boss, investor, studio, or colleague who rejects your ideas. Sometimes it will happen so often you’ll start to question your own ability, and wonder if you’re really creative at all. In these moments (which will definitely come) my advice is: Never base your creativity […]

  • The importance of training your team

    Here’s a situation at churches and ministries I encounter from time to time: A leader with great gifts plants a church or launches a ministry. At the start there’s no money, so he or she hires friends, relatives, church members, or eager volunteers – all with very little or no experience.  But the church or […]

  • You Say You Don’t Have Time to Pursue Your Dream?

    I hear it over and over again, “Phil, I’d love to write my book (or insert screenplay, make a movie, launch that business, etc..) but I just don’t have the time.” We all seem so busy these days, how can we possibly find time to write, plan, or produce what we really dream about? Believe […]

  • Why Success Takes More Than Passion

    Everyone talks about “passion” these days, and truthfully, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s always better to be emotionally plugged into projects and excited about the possibilities. But these days, it seems that people talk about passion a lot, but they don’t see the importance of preparation. For instance, you’d be amazed at the number of […]

  • Is the Small Stuff Keeping You From Accomplishing the BIG Stuff?

    As I continue consulting with organizations and their leaders, one of the biggest obstacles that’s becoming more and more clear is that some leaders understand the importance of communicating their message, and others don’t. It’s that simple. The ones that see the importance, budget the time and money necessary to make it happen have vision. […]

  • Flexibility wins in the age of the nimble

    Bureaucracy is dead, and this is the age of “nimble.” Trust me on this – if your organization has silos, turf battles, or is overwhelmed by policy manuals, you’re about to get squashed by smaller, nimbler, and hungrier organizations. You see bureaucracy everywhere today – the government can’t even pass a budget because of the […]