The Change Revolution

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Posted 11/20/14 at 8:56 AM | Phil Cooke

Why You Probably Can't Change Your Boss

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

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 simply a hallucination.

Journalist Peggy Noonan wrote recently about the issue: “Seven years ago I was talking to a longtime Democratic operative on Capitol Hill about a politician who was in trouble. The politician was likely finished, he said. I was surprised. Can’t he change things and dig himself out? No. “People do what they know how to do.” Politicians don’t have a vast repertoire. When they get in a jam they just do what they’ve always done, even if it’s not working anymore.” FULL POST

Posted 11/18/14 at 12:04 PM | Phil Cooke

Four Ways to Make Short Videos Deliver

Short video presentations have become one of the most important marketing tools in the world, and there’s no better place for using video than sharing our faith. Evangelism, missions, discipleship, promotions, fundraising – all can be more effective by using short videos. The problem is – most short videos fail. They don’t move the audience, call them to action, or motivate them to accomplish anything. If you’re suffering from “Ineffective Video Syndrome,” then here’s a few tips to get yours back in shape:

1. Video is about emotion, not information.  Stop cramming your video presentation with numbers, data, and results. If it’s information you want to share, then print it out in a brochure, or put it on the website. Video connects with people’s emotions, so for the best results, make sure you’re telling a compelling, dramatic story.

2. Never use two things: Cheesy stock footage, and cheap music libraries.  Both are deadly. Cheesy stock footage isn’t real. It’s staged (thumbs up everyone!) and undercuts the reality and importance of your ideas. Bad library music is the same – it stands out, distracts, and turns people away. Take the time to get good shots and find the right music that sets the scene. FULL POST

Posted 11/17/14 at 2:35 PM | Phil Cooke

Why the "Relevance Versus Obedience" Argument Isn't as Relevant as We Think

Photo: Flickr/Hector Alejandro - Creative Commons

I have to admit that I’m growing weary of the “Is it better to be relevant or obedient” arguments. Frankly, it’s wasting a lot of time and energy, plus, it’s causing division and isn’t helping the cause. Here’s why:

1. We’re not even using the word correctly.  By definition, “relevance” isn’t about popularity, being cool, being liked, or by extension, compromise. Relevance is about the right thing at the right time. It’s about being connected to the matter at hand. It’s about the right tool, strategy, message, or idea that fills a need. What could be more important in sharing the gospel? By misinterpreting and condemning the word “relevance” we’re closing the door on important and critical ways it could be used to reach this culture with the gospel. FULL POST

Posted 11/14/14 at 9:57 AM | Phil Cooke

How to Kill Your Career in 3 Easy Steps

Job wanted advertisement
Photo: Flickr/photologue_np - Creative Commons

Life can throw us a lot of curves. Our childhood, our parents, physical challenges, early experiences on the job, all indelibly imprint us with bad behaviors that are hard to shake. A woman abused as a child, a man whose father told him he’d never amount to much, a person who lives with insecurity. Big or small, they damage our relationships, the quality of our work, and our chances for success. But there are three specific personality “quirks” that really set people back from achieving all they could become in life. I’m not a psychologist, and don’t have all the answers for fixing these problems, but I’ve discovered that if we can take a frank look at ourselves, and at least recognize the limiting behaviors, it helps us get started on the road to freedom. FULL POST

Posted 11/14/14 at 9:42 AM | Phil Cooke

When to Give Up on Your Ideas or Projects

Yesterday I wrote about resilience, and how important it can be to not give up on your ideas, your projects, and your dreams – even in the face of opposition. I used my friend Producer Ken Wales as an example of someone who pitched a movie idea for years and years and eventually made it happen. But the truth is, there are situations when it’s actually better to let go of an idea and move on – even if you’ve spent years developing and writing it. The problem is – how do you know? What needs to happen before you realize it may be time to walk away? I’ve asked some experienced filmmakers in Hollywood about the danger signs that indicate when it’s time to drop a project and move on with your life:

From Movie and Television Writer-Producer Brian Bird: FULL POST

Posted 11/13/14 at 12:41 PM | Phil Cooke

What Hollywood Knows About Resilience That You Don't

Ken Wales

Love it or hate it, one thing you can say about many producers in Hollywood is that they are remarkably resilient. They don’t give up, and in some cases keep pitching ideas for years. There’s something to be said for that, because in my experience, when people outside Hollywood hit a wall, get rejected, or suffer a defeat, nine times out of ten, they give up. But in Hollywood, you’ll find producers that are still pitching ideas, concepts, and scripts they developed decades ago – and in an amazing number of cases, they eventually strike gold.

For instance, back in the 1980’s, Ken Wales, who’s had a long career as a producer in Hollywood acquired the rights to Catherine Marshall’s book “Christy” – about a pioneer woman living on the American frontier. He pitched that book to every studio in town and did it for years. But time after time, he was turned down. Studio after studio, financier after financier. Turned down flat. FULL POST

Posted 11/13/14 at 12:27 PM | Phil Cooke

Why You Need a "People Bucket List"

movie poster of The Bucket List

Remember the movie “The Bucket List?” It’s the story of two terminally ill friends who sneak out of a cancer ward for a road trip to see a list of things and places before they die. That movie mostly focused on locations, but the truth is, a better bucket list would be of people to see before the end of your life. Who would be on that list for you?

Who are the people you’d like to meet before you pass away?  Start making the list today and start checking it off. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Who could you learn from? Who do you need to say “Thank You” to? Who matters in your life?

Maybe it’s a corporate giant, creative genius, inventor, pro athlete, your high school coach or an estranged family member. Maybe it’s someone you need to settle up with or make things right. FULL POST

Posted 11/10/14 at 12:19 PM | Phil Cooke

Be Careful of People Who Constantly Complain About their Job

Photo: Flickr/Alexander Baxevanis - Creative Commons

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:

“Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work. (Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it. Yes, writing can be complicated, exhausting, isolating, abstracting, boring, dulling, briefly exhilarating; it can be made to be grueling and demoralizing. And occasionally it can produce rewards. But it’s never as hard as, say, piloting an L-1011 into O’Hare on a snowy night in January, or doing brain surgery when you have to stand up for 10 hours straight, and once you start you can’t just stop. If you’re a writer, you can stop anywhere, any time, and no one will care or ever know. Plus, the results might be better if you do.” FULL POST

Posted 11/5/14 at 9:22 AM | Phil Cooke

How to Get the Attention of Influencers

Photo: Pixabay - Public Domain

We’ve all had experiences where we desperately needed to meet someone important to pitch a project, share an idea, or just get to know them. Most of us don’t rub elbows everyday with leaders at the top of their game, so when the opportunity comes, we need to act. But the truth is, when that door opens, most of us blow it. We stumble, pull back, become afraid, or otherwise don’t take advantage of the opportunity that could change our future. To make sure you seize the moment next time you meet an influencer, here’s some key points to remember:

1. They don’t have much time.  Influential people are busy people and most won’t have an hour or two to discuss your idea. That’s why an “elevator pitch” is so important. Can you reduce your pitch down to the length it could be presented if you both stepped on an elevator and had a couple of floors to travel? If you can’t get it down to a short presentation, then you don’t know the idea well enough. Make it short and sweet, so you leave them wanting more. FULL POST

Posted 11/4/14 at 11:12 AM | Phil Cooke

Have We Started Demanding Christian Leaders Sign a Loyalty Oath?

Photo: USDA - Creative Commons
Politicians swears an oath of office.

For hundreds of years as missionaries took the gospel to the ends of the earth, depending on the culture they encountered, the Christian community allowed them enormous latitude into how they chose to present the message. For instance, when a missionary worked in a culture steeped in polygamy, he didn’t start by teaching what the Bible said about “one husband and one wife.” He knew the key to changing embedded cultural behavior wasn’t immediate confrontation; it was the sometimes long process of winning trust, developing relationships, and earning the right to be heard.

From Sati (widow burning) in some Asian cultures to slavery and tribal warfare in Africa, missionaries understood that it may take years before they were trusted enough to speak against values and customs that had been part of a society for generations. Legendary Baptist missionary Lottie Moon is credited with helping to end the practice of foot-binding in China. Changing this commonly accepted but crippling practice was a massive shift for influential Chinese leaders at the time. But it was only Lottie’s deep and long immersion into that society which earned her enough authority to speak into these kinds of practices. FULL POST

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