Phil Cooke is a sought-after speaker on creativity and the creative process, so when we has tips for encouraging your team to be creative, we listen up. He chats with Leary and Armin about why managers are eager to hire creativity above all else, how they encourage their teams to be as creative as possible, and how to balance the need for routine with the need for creative freedom in your organization.

Who is Phil Cooke? Phil Cooke is an internationally recognized speaker and writer, as well as the CEO of Cooke Media Group, where he helps major national ministries and churches impact the culture they come into contact with through media. Phil has produced programs in nearly 50 countries, and last year was the executive producer of Let Hope Rise: The Hillsong Movie which hit theaters in fall of 2017. He also produced The Insanity of God, a nationwide feature documentary. Phil has been a guest on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, and Fox News, and his work has been profiled in major publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

We’ve chatted with Phil on the program twice before. In Episode 23, Phil shared with us how to engage our culture right where we are, and in Episode 55, he and his co-author Jonathan Bock shared about their book, The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back. Phil is working on releasing an upcoming journal for creative people, and he shares the theory of creativity behind it on the show with us today.


“A recent study of CEOs: The single greatest thing they look for a new hire is creativity. It ranked above integrity, character, and skill at your job.” — Phil

“There is absolutely no research that indicates that people are born creative or not creative.” — Phil

“Creativity has become the currency of this generation.” — Phil

“If you’re trying to really spark your own creativity, start doing things differently.” — Phil

Action Steps:

  • If your leadership isn’t leading, you can lead from the middle.
  • When reviewing an idea and delivering feedback, Phil has 3 pieces of advice: 1) Be respectful; 2) Always ask why; and 3) Find something to praise.  
  • Phil shares a story where a project he did got ripped to shreds, but the person giving him the feedback also said: “You are better than this. You can do better.” The potential that man saw in Phil encouraged him to try again. When you have to deliver hard feedback, make sure you can add some encouragement along the way.
  • Long to-do lists are overwhelming. Pare yours down to only what you need to do today.
  • Micromanaging isn’t necessarily when management is staring over your shoulder. It can be a general concern with the “how”of a job instead of the “what”. Good managers leave their people doing the job to their own systems, trusting them to get the job done.

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