Get Smart was one of our favorite television shows when I was in elementary school. Maxwell Smart, agent 86, was always almost getting it right and saying, “Missed it by that much.”
He came very close to getting it right, or at least in his mind he was very close.
It was a great show. We loved it. It was very funny.
I thought about Maxwell Smart saying “missed it by that much” today as I listened to several small group leaders describe the small group connection event where they were chosen as leaders. I have to admit I cringed a little as they described things that weren’t part of the original design of the strategy.
What occurred to me is that least little deviation from the design of a strategy can take you quite a distance from the intended outcome. Just little tiny deviations. Worse, what might seem like a small deviation may actually be a very significant strategic departure. Like when I discovered a former consulting church had “tweaked” the small group connection strategy and were essentially calling a group fair a connection. Instead of starting new groups they were simply adding new members to existing groups.
Missed it by that much! Adding members to existing groups treads water. Starting new groups is the best way to grow the total number of people connected. See also, Critical Decision: Add Members to Existing Groups vs Start New Groups.
There are a number of strategic elements that only have to be tweaked slightly to lead to a much different and far less powerful outcome. If you’re finding a strategy is just not working (or just not working anymore), you may need to go back and look again at the original design. It could be that your tweaks have caused you to “miss it by that much.” See also, 5 Totally Obvious Reasons Small Group Ministries Fail and 5 Obscure but Important Reasons Small Group Ministries Fail.