Phil Cooke is changing the way business, church, and non-profit leaders influence and engage the culture. A writer, speaker, & filmmaker, Christianity Today magazine calls him a "media guru." His media company, Cooke Pictures, advises many of the largest and most effective churches & non-profit organizations in the world, and his books and online blog at philcooke.com are changing the way they tell their story. His newest book “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” is set to release in July of 2012 from Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Posted 4/23/14 at 10:15 AM | Phil Cooke
In past generations, people were employed for life, but new statistics indicate that in today’s economy, you’ll have many jobs before retirement. In most areas – advertising and marketing, ministry, nonprofit work, entertainment, business, etc… the world is pretty small, so when it comes time to leave your job, you’d better leave it on good terms. After all, you never know in the future when you might want to work with that organization again. So even when you leave out of anger, duress, frustration, or most other reasons, I always encourage people not to burn bridges. But even when that’s your intention, most people don’t do it well, so here’s a few reminders you should keep tucked away for that day when it’s time to move on:
1. Finish the old job well. Over the years. I’ve had a couple of departing employees leave our company completely in the lurch. I was thrilled for the opportunity they had with a new company, but when they departed, they left projects in mid-stream, and since they were the main person who knew the details, it made it very difficult for us to recover. I’ll think twice before I ever hire them back. Always button up projects, files, or relationships before you leave. FULL POST
Posted 4/22/14 at 10:02 AM | Phil Cooke
There’s a flood of self-help and positive thinking books and teaching out there, and it’s infected the church in a big way as well. I’m a positive person, but it doesn’t take much study of great leaders and innovators to realize that life isn’t about what most people call “success.” That’s why a recent devotional from 843 Acres caught my attention. If you don’t receive Park Forum’s 843 Acres email devotional, I highly recommend it, because in this case, I can do no better than simply quote it and ask you to compare it to how you evaluate your accomplishments in life:
Success: On Wall Street, success is measured when the closing bell rings. On Capitol Hill, it’s measured when constituents cast their votes. When it comes to our lives, however, how do we measure success? How do we determine whether a life was well lived?
Failure: Paul’s second letter to Timothy was his last. He was aging and imprisoned; he knew that his life was drawing to a close. Was his life successful? First, let’s consider whether he was well liked. During his thirty years of ministry, he was deserted, opposed, flogged, beaten, betrayed, imprisoned, shipwrecked, left for dead, and stoned. According to tradition, a few days after he penned this letter, Nero beheaded him as a criminal. What about the churches he planted? Were they successful? According to John’s vision in Revelation, the church that Paul planted in Ephesus would be told, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” What about his apprentice, Timothy? According to tradition, Timothy was beaten, dragged, and stoned to death by an enraged mob. In other words, from all external appearances, Paul’s life doesn’t seem too successful–he wasn’t well liked by the cultural elite, the church he planted abandoned their first love, and his apprentice was killed by a mob. FULL POST
Posted 4/21/14 at 12:36 PM | Phil Cooke
Being wrong is one thing. Being over-confident in your wrongness is something else entirely. On my blog, on film sets, and in meetings, I often encounter people who are spectacularly wrong, and yet enormously confident. It happens to the best of people. In the New Testament book of Matthew chapter 16, Jesus was foretelling His future to the disciples. It was far darker than they expected, and Peter tried to correct Him:
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to You!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”* FULL POST
Posted 4/17/14 at 1:23 PM | Phil Cooke
I love the quote by painter Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Real creative professionals know that creativity isn’t about a spark, or inspired moment. Sure those things happen, but they’re rare and can’t be counted on. What can be counted on is showing up. One writer described the writing process as simply “Connecting the seat of your pants to the seat of a chair.”
Daily routines are the key to long term creative productivity. The book “Daily Rituals,” by Mason Currey tells the story of 161 creative professionals throughout history and charts their daily routine. The result is amazing. What I discovered from the list of writers, painters, musicians, and other creatives is that the vast majority were virtual slaves to a daily routine. They created the environment, schedule, and process that worked best for them – and then stuck to it. FULL POST
Posted 4/16/14 at 10:45 AM | Phil Cooke
At some point or another, everyone has boss problems. I’ve worked for bosses who were the owner’s son or daughter, and were completely incompetent. There are fine leaders out there who are second generation, but in my career, I’ve worked for some real losers. I’ve had other bosses that were insecure, others who were egomaniacs, and still others who wanted to be somewhere else. As a result, sooner or later, most employees dream of owning their own business and becoming their own boss. But there’s a problem with that dream – unless you are independently wealthy, everyone has a boss.
When I left full time employment and became a freelancer, I suddenly had multiple bosses – my clients. When I started Cooke Pictures, in theory I was the boss, but once again, our clients are my bosses. Try as you might, as long as you’re working full-time, part time, freelance, or self-employed, you’ll always have a boss. Which leaves only one option: FULL POST
Posted 4/15/14 at 9:56 AM | Phil Cooke
Posted 4/14/14 at 10:35 AM | Phil Cooke
Recently, Dr. Larry Poland, founder of Mastermedia International received a letter from a very sincere sixteen-year old who obviously is serious about her Christian faith and said she aspires to use her singing talent for God. In her letter she wanted Larry’s advice about coming to Hollywood to become a “famous Christian singer.” After about a week of praying over his response, Dr. Poland wrote the young girl we’ll call “Lucy” the following letter – and it’s a letter you should consider sharing with others with the same goal:
Thanks for your letter sharing your dream of becoming a “famous Christian singer.” My friend, what I am going to say in this letter may seem discouraging to you, but you have to understand that I have worked in Hollywood since 1980 and have seen literally hundreds of bright, committed young men and women aspire to a dream like yours. Frankly, your letter frightened me . . . for three reasons: FULL POST
Posted 4/10/14 at 10:23 AM | Phil Cooke |
Way back in 2006, the Los Angeles Times tracked the impact of the pornography industry on the emerging technology of the time. I’ve written before on the history of the battle between industry giants VHS and Betamax, back in the early days of home video. Back then, when home video was new, someone could purchase an X-rated video on the phone, and have it mailed to his doorstep in a plain, brown wrapper. For the first time, you could purchase sexually explicit videos without being seen publicly, and the industry literally exploded overnight.
Back in those days, in a typical month, 50% or more of the top ten list of bestselling videos were porn. Betamax and VHS were battling it out for industry dominance, and when the porn industry made the decision to move to VHS, they carried such weight, it swung the entire business. Although from a technical standpoint, Betamax was considered a better quality format, it literally died almost overnight.
Then it happened again with the advent of HD, Blu-Ray DVD, and online streaming technology. Few people realize the incredible impact of the porn industry on technology. The fact is, many key technology decisions have been driven by the direction the adult video industry has taken. FULL POST
Posted 4/9/14 at 11:46 AM | Phil Cooke |
You’d be surprised at how many times I start working with a new client, only to have someone on their team pull me aside to complain about how the organization is run, or the incompetent leadership, or the mission. I know other people who constantly complain about their job, co-workers, schedule, and more. The bottom line is that there are far too many people complaining and not nearly enough making things happen. Here’s a shocking statistic I read recently: 78% of people who were fired last year, weren’t fired because of mistakes, incompetence, or lack of skill. They were fired because they couldn’t get along with other people at work.
Admit it: How much time to you spend complaining about your problems to people who can’t help you solve them?
The book of Philippians in the New Testament says, “Do all things without grumbling.” That’s good advice. Stop thinking it will help, because it doesn’t. Here’s a list of what complaining will not do: FULL POST
Posted 4/8/14 at 11:43 AM | Phil Cooke
If you respond to blogs, news, and other online sites through a fake name, I have one question: Why? What and why are you hiding? Over the years, on this blog – as well as other places I write like Huffington Post, Charisma News, Christian Post, Fast Company, and others, I’ve discovered that the most venomous, nasty, and uncivil posts are almost always from people hiding behind a fake name. There’s simply no accountability when you post anonymously. Which is probably the reason Huffington Post, and many other sites are starting to require the use of real names if you want to respond.
Not long ago, Facebook marketing director (and sister of founder Mark), Randi Zuckerberg announced that anonymity “should go away.” She said, “I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.” FULL POST