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Hedgehogs and Church: How to Hit the Communications Sweet Spot

In his landmark bestseller book Good to Great, Jim Collins lays out the now-famous hedgehog principle. It’s the idea that everyone, every organization, has a “sweet spot” that serves as the intersection of three circles.

Many organizations spend lots of energy chasing too many ideas and initiatives. The great ones know how to say “no” to the good stuff and focus on the ONE thing they’re really great at. (Dashboard Groupcraft is an entire consulting practice built around this simple idea.)

It’s powerful, it works, but it’s hard to execute.

If you’re a church communicator reading this, you may conclude, “That’s for businesses. In the church world, we’re not about ‘economic engines’ or profits; we have to serve many different people in many different ways.” Does this mean that there is no place for focused strengths within a church? Sadly, in fact, many church communicators’ programs suffer from a severe lack of focus. The results are lackluster–that is, if they even measure results at all.

SiteOrganic helps churches across the country with their church Web sites and overall online ministries. Much of their focus is on strategy. In a recent survey, SiteOrganic found that 53% of church Web site managers are operating with no strategy or focus. Another 40% said they had a strategy, but it was imperfect or out-of-date. For these churches, the hedgehog principle yields to the scattershot principle.

Mapping the 3 hedgehog circles to church communications

1. Passion

What is the heart of your church?

It should be clearly stated in the vision statement for the organization. Everyone on the communications team should live and breathe this vision, internalize it, and see it manifest in everything that they do. 

If we’re contemplating a new communications opportunity but it doesn’t clearly map to our vision, then we aren’t doing it.

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Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.