The Change Revolution
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Phil Cooke

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 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 8/19/14 at 10:30 AM | Phil Cooke

Warning Signs of Bad Christian Television

Book cover for The Last TV Evangelist

In my book “The Last TV Evangelist: Why The Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less About Christian Media – And Why It Matters,” I released a list of mistakes that reveal when Christians are dropping the ball – particularly on television. Some readers have called it “TV Evangelist Porn.” While that may be a stretch, it does echo just how out of sync with good taste these “offenses” are:

OFFENDER #1: If you talk in a different voice when the camera is turned on.   Love it or hate it, reality programming has left an indelible mark on the industry. So when you appear on your program with your “classic TV voice” it sticks out like a sore thumb. There are numerous ministry leaders who are gracious and authentic when talking with friends. But turn on the camera, and they become someone else. Be real. Speak normally. It doesn’t make you more anointed or powerful when you try to sound like God. The “over the top” era is done. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 10:12 AM | Phil Cooke

Be Careful Using a Tablet for Speaking Notes

Photo: Thomas van de Weerd - Creative Commons

I love technology and I applaud speakers, preachers, teachers and others who use an iPad or other tablet for your speaking notes. But as much I want people to know you’re savvy with technology, here’s a few cautions – some issues I’m seeing a lot out there on podiums, pulpits, and classrooms:

1) Speakers tend to hunch over when using a tablet.  I watched a teacher last week spend his entire talk hunched over the podium looking at his tablet like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. You can see paper notes from every angle and direction, but it’s not so easy with a tablet. Hunched over, you look like you’re in your own little world and not interested in the audience.

2) Speakers tend to lose eye contact with the audience when using a tablet.  It’s a smaller space than a piece of paper so you tend to turn pages more often and struggle to keep track of where you are on the screen. As a result, you lose eye contact with the audience, and when you do that, you lose them. FULL POST

Posted 8/17/14 at 8:28 AM | Phil Cooke |


Robin Williams' Death and Why the World Thinks Christians Are Idiots

Photo: Flickr/Eva Rinaldi - CC

It’s already begun.  Just days after the tragic death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, Christians are coming up with the “answers,” and (surprise) pitching their DVD’s in the process. The most widely promoted so far is Robin Williams: The Sad Truth The Media Won’t Tell You from over at “Good Fight Ministries.” In the article it states: “Robin Williams acknowledged that he had opened himself up to transformative demonic powers that aided him on stage.” I’d encourage you to read the quote that statement is based on.

Having worked in Hollywood for more than 30 years, the idea Robin’s talking about in the quote isn’t “demon possession” but a common term actors use to fill a character. I’m sure writer Joe Schimmel is trying to do the right thing, but using that quote as a guide, he would have to (and perhaps does) assume every actor and comedian in Hollywood is demon possessed. FULL POST

Posted 8/13/14 at 9:22 AM | Phil Cooke

When Leaders Don't Enjoy Spending Time With Their Team

lonely man looks at river
Photo: Flickr/robertsharp - Creative Commons

In my consulting work over the last 30 years, one of the most common complaints I get – particularly at churches and nonprofit organizations – is that leaders don’t spend much time with their team.  Understand it’s not just about being busy. In most situations it’s pastors, executives, COO’s and other leaders who simply don’t enjoy spending time with their team. In case that’s happening at your organization, and since I’ve heard it from both sides, when it happens, here’s my advice for both parties:

To the employees on the team: Get on the leader’s wavelength.  Chances are, you’re a specialist and the leader isn’t. For instance, I often hear from church communications and media people that the pastor won’t spend time with them. In most cases, it’s because you want to talk about audio levels, lighting cues, or social media ideas. But the pastor is focused on reaching more people with the message, leading a wide ranging team, and how to be more effective in the pulpit. Get on that wavelength (and start feeding him ideas) and he or she will start spending more time with you than you even want. FULL POST

Posted 8/12/14 at 9:39 AM | Phil Cooke

Does Your Advertising Betray You?

Advertising and marketing are about promotion, and promotion is about making you, your organization, or product look interesting, enticing, and simply terrific. But far too often, we’re not as strategic about our advertising as we should be, and as a result, our feeble attempts at promotion end up backfiring. Sometimes it’s just not paying attention like this auto repair shop:

alignment sign out of alignment

Other times is not being aware of the images you’re leaving in the mind of people:

cracked cement sign

But mostly, it’s just inappropriate or subpar creative. On my Facebook page I recently featured this sign:

septic service sign with bad humor

This advertisement reeks of “Don’t worry boss, we don’t need to hire that fancy advertising company. We got this.”  And of course it shows. FULL POST

Posted 8/11/14 at 9:50 AM | Phil Cooke

When Teams Can't Trust Their Leaders

Photo: Flickr/Artem Popov - Creative Commons

There have been plenty of stories recently about pastors and other ministry leaders failing or falling from grace. This isn’t one of those stories. This post is about pastors and leaders with teams who don’t trust them to keep their word. Keep in mind, these aren’t bad people, and I’m not talking about outright liars. I’m talking about leaders who’ve spent so many years changing their mind, making rash decisions, or back peddling, their closest friends and employees can’t trust their decisions anymore. It happens for a number of reasons:

1) They may be people pleasers and say what people want to hear – even though they have no intention of following through.
2) They make impulse decisions, and later realize what they said wasn’t smart.
3) They make decisions without getting good advice, and have to back peddle later.
4) They get caught up in the emotion of the moment, and make decisions and public statements they later regret. (Are you listening Pentecostal leaders?)

Ministry consultant and blogger Tony Morgan says: “We need to make sure we deliver on our word. If we can’t or don’t plan to follow through, we shouldn’t say it. The problem is that leaders are people pleasers. We’re afraid to tell the truth if the truth might cause someone to dislike us. In the long run, though, I’d much rather deal with dislike than foster distrust.” FULL POST

Posted 8/7/14 at 9:57 PM | Phil Cooke

How to Keep From Becoming a "One Hit Wonder" With Your Career

Job wanted advertisement
Photo: Flickr/photologue_np - Creative Commons

Living in Los Angeles, I’m constantly meeting people who had a breakthrough moment sometime in their career. Perhaps they acted in a successful TV series, wrote a screenplay for an acclaimed movie, or published a bestselling book. But after that success, they dropped off the radar, unable to keep the momentum going. Perhaps that’s happened to you. Your past success might have been in business, the arts, media, or elsewhere, but when it was over, you’ve never been able to get back into the game. Life is complex, and while there may be many reasons for your detour, here’s a few things to consider that might help you keep your career momentum moving forward, and avoid becoming a “one hit wonder:”

1) People skills are far more important than your skills at your job.  There are plenty of gifted directors in Hollywood and in TV commercials that no one wants to deal with because they can’t get along with anyone. Be a great writer, producer, actor, whatever – but never forget that relating to other people is critical. Learn to inspire people, and you’ll become a magnet in the workplace. FULL POST

Posted 8/7/14 at 10:05 AM | Phil Cooke

Why Who You Work With Matters

Photo: Flickr/hibino - Creative Commons

Changing the organizational chart of an organization has a limited impact. But changing where people sit, has a massive effect. That’s from Ben Waber, CEO of Sociometric Solutions, who uses sensors to track communication patterns in the workplace. He says a worker’s immediate neighbors account for 40-60% of interactions a worker faces during the workday. If you’re two rows away, it’s reduced to 5-10%. The fact is, who you sit next to at work matters. Are they negative? Are they positive? Are they needy? Do they suck the life out of you? Whatever it is, will impact you in significant ways.

Some companies report that simply changing where people sit saves them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Bottom line – you should think very carefully about where your team sits and who they sit next to.   The person an employee is next to has an enormous impact on their attitude, productivity, and results. FULL POST

Posted 8/6/14 at 10:18 AM | Phil Cooke

Three Signs it may be Time to Find a New Job

Photo: Pixabay/Nemo - Public Domain

My father’s generation valued job loyalty. It wasn’t unusual at all for employees – especially of large corporations – to spend their entire working life at one company. But today, that notion has been turned on it’s head. In fact, some research indicates a typical employee will work at as many as 15-20 different organizations in their career. In that world, it’s important to know when it’s time to leave – hopefully before you’re asked. If you’ve started staring out the windows in the afternoons, here’s a few indicators that it might be time to leave your job: FULL POST

Posted 8/5/14 at 10:36 AM | Phil Cooke

Five Steps to Overcoming the "Jolts" of Life

Photo: Public Domain

When disaster strikes our life, we’re often simply overwhelmed. As we saw during the 2011 tsunami in Japan, entire towns were wiped off the map, and all these years later, we’re still seeing news reports of problems with the clean up. When a country like that is in chaos, where do we begin when problems happen? Even more important, how do we deal with the “meltdowns” we face in our lives? In my book "Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing" I show you how to weather the storms of change, and actually use it to your advantage. After being fired, going through a divorce, losing a loved one or experiencing other traumatic life events, how do you start over? Here’s 5 ways to move forward with purpose:

• Realize the time to change is now.  When you’ve hit the wall, or rock bottom, that could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, because it “jolts” you into action. While we never welcome terrible things, they can often help us focus on what really matters and show us the way out. FULL POST

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