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Small Giants: Measurements

August 8, 2007

The premise of the book was to focus on privately held, smaller companies who were strong and profitable over a long period of time without necessarily growing large, selling off or going public. In fact one of the things he seeks to dispel is the idea of grow or die. The writer works for Inc. Magazine and over the years he noticed a large number who bucked this trend.

The writer points out that the majority of books like Good to Great or Built to Last are written about large publicly traded companies. Not only that but the majority of books written about leadership and smart business are based again on publicly traded, large corporations. There is nothing wrong with that but the writer of the book points out that this gives us a skewed picture of what success and leadership should look like and what doing things the right way should be.

Large publicly traded companies have one goal, shareholder value. How do they get that? They sell more and make more. Success has a narrow frame of measurement. It is growth or it isn’t good. People lose their jobs if they aren’t putting up bigger and bigger numbers.

Now just think of the number of Wall Street scandals that were caused by this mentality? Enron and others came exactly because the company needed people to believe they were still growing? How many companies make morally questionable decisions all to keep the growth machine going?

What if this type of measurement for success is part of the problem? I was reading an article in Christianity Today recently and it discussed all of the problems that some mega churches had behind closed doors. Could it be that this is no different then the problems at Enron and other companies? Could it be that the idea that they needed to grow or get bigger helps set them up to cut corners and ignore spiritual lapses? Could it be a recipe for behavior that doesn’t reflect Christ?

The point at the beginning of the book is that many companies really are successful that don’t fit the “grow big or die” mentality. They treat their employees well, they have a great environment and they make a difference in their communities all without a need to be bigger and bigger. They are popular, profitable with a great work culture all in the context of small.

What if the church has subconsciously allowed a dangerous way of measuring success to infiltrate the church? What if ministers and pastors become disillusioned and depressed not because they aren’t successful but because they have a false idea of measuring success?

What if churches end up depressed and bummed out because they have allowed this yardstick taken from corporate America to become their guiding measurement? If we subscribed to the idea that success should be measured by quality or community impact then many of the assumed measurements will fall short won’t they? Wouldn’t we suddenly begin to see our own fellowships differently? Would our goals change and become more reasonable? What are your thoughts?

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2007 2:48 am


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