In Jim Collins’ best seller ‘Good to Great’, he talks about something he and his team of researchers refer to as ‘The Hedgehog Concept’. Here are the core ideas in this gem:
- Hedgehogs simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, the basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn’t matter how complex the world, the hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple – indeed almost simplistic- hedgehog ideas.
- Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world and all its complexity. They are scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, never integrating their thinking into one overall concept or unifying vision.
The Hedgehog Concept was a key differentiator in great companies. Why? Well, I would sum it up into one word- Focus. They focused rigorously on the following three circles, never wavering to the temptations of shiny new ideas or knee-jerk reactions to mis-aligned opportunities:
- What they were deeply passionate about.
- What drove their economic engine.
- What they could be the best at in the world.
Hedgehogs are tiny, fuzzy, and cute little creatures. But do not mistake them or their ability to outwit the competition (those pesky foxes).
TAKE ACTION: Identify your three circles, stay focused on them with unwavering discipline, and watch the competition lurch from idea to idea, never gaining real traction or growth.