Concentration: Focusing on the One Thing

May 2018

By Joel Comiskey, check out  coaching 

One book that has greatly impacted my life is Jim Collin’s From Good to Great. Collins compared great companies that experienced record sales for long periods of time with “comparison” or “mediocre” companies that existed at the same time period. The “comparison” companies either stagnated or only experienced modest growth, while the great companies continued to break records over long periods of time. Collins and his research team asked the question “why”?  What were the factors behind the success of the record-breaking companies? Why did the  “mediocre” companies fail to keep up?

One of the key reasons was focus. Collins likens great companies to the hedgehog, a spiny porcupine looking animal, that does one thing well: defend itself. The mediocre, comparison companies were like foxes that pursue many goals and interests at the same time. Hedgehogs are slow, steady, and unassuming. But, unlike the fox, they are able to simplify the world and focus on one overarching vision.

Writing about the leaders of the great companies, Collins says, “The good-to-great leaders were able to strip away so much noise and clutter and just focus on the few things that would have the greatest impact” (p. 87). They didn’t listen to the clamor of the crowds but focused their companies on a simple vision. On the other hand, Collins writes, “The comparison companies launched lots of new programs, often with great fanfare and hoopla aimed at motivating the troops” (p. 178). They wanted external, outward events to motivate the troops. The great leaders, on the other hand,  didn’t need the hoopla because they were tightly focused on their vision.

Collins writes about the clarity and simplicity in the great leaders, “They have a piercing insight that allows them to see through complexity and discern underlying patterns. Hedgehogs see what is essential, and ignore the rest” (91). On the other hand, Collins writes, “Comparison companies were scattered, diffused, and inconsistent ”(92).

The cell church is very simple: make disciples. The danger is to complicate this simplicity and to add clutter and hoopla. It might seem right to engage the people with never-ending events and activity, but people’s attention become scattered and discipleship suffers.

Writing about the comparison companies, Collins writes, “They are scattered or diffused moving on many levels, never integrating their thinking into one overall concept or unifying vision.” But then he says, “Hedgehogs  simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn’t matter how complex the world, a hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple—indeed almost simplistic—hedgehog ideas” (91).

So what about you? Are you a hedgehog or a fox? Are you clearly focused on making disciples through cell ministry? Or are always looking for new ways to keep people occupied and entertained? Saying no to those things that cause you to stray from the vision is a good thing.  You’ll also need to say yes to all those things that help you make disciples who make disciples. Cell church is very simple. Don’t over-complicate it.