Friday, November 5, 2010

My Interview with Christian Media Guru Phil Cooke

I’ve been busy the last few weeks—school hw, papers, and projects!! One of my school projects was to choose a media leader to analyze. I immediately chose Phil Cooke, and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his leadership style. But first, here’s some of the reasons I chose Cooke to write about in the first place.

Phil Cooke, consultant, strategist, and media activist, is leading a movement to revolutionize the way the church engages the culture and creates media. Through his company, Cooke Pictures, his books, Branding Faith and The Last TV Evangelist, and his popular blog,, Phil is changing the way Christian communicators and religious organizations engage the culture.

Cooke and his partners started TWC Films, a production company that produced two TV commercials for Super Bowl 2008 and a Chevrolet commercial for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. Cooke’s production company, Cooke Pictures, has advised and created successful media for non-profits and leading Christian ministries such as Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life broadcast, and Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and the 700 Club. All Christian leaders would be wise to read and implement the strategies in Phil’s books.

Now, here’s my interview with Phil Cooke:

  1. How would you describe your leadership style?

I'm driven by two things - creativity and teams. I love looking at challenges in unconventional ways and I like working with other creative people. That's not a style for the insecure or faint of heart, because you really have to deliver, and you can't be intimidated by others on the team. But I've discovered that you can find remarkable results when you surround yourself with people smarter than you are.

2. What have you found is the best way to inspire your employees?

Inspiration isn't about money, it's about meaning. Employees deserve to be paid well - especially when they bring a lot of expertise to the table. However, everyone knows well paid people who are miserable at their job. When a person finds his or her job meaningful, they'll navigate a lot of obstacles to get the job done well.

3. Many people follow your books and blog for ideas and inspiration. Whose books and blogs do you follow and why?

I'm a big fan of cross-pollination, so I get ideas and inspiration from a lot of different sources. In my new book that comes out in April called "Jolt!" I write about this very thing. The reason gardens are so beautiful is that bees scatter the pollen from plant to plant. In the same way, I read business books, attend the opera, study the lives of military generals, watch movies, and much more. I want to bring many different perspectives to the table when I'm solving problems.

4. What are some mistakes you’ve made as a leader and what lessons did you learn from them?

I remember not taking a financial risk to keep a great employee. I once had a brilliant producer who deserved more money. But because I was nervous about our small company's income, I let him go to another company. I've always regretted that I didn't believe enough in our future to step out and take that risk. Great people are tough to find.

Thanks for helping me with my school project Phil!