good to great

Turning your Good Company into a Great One

Just finished reading Jim Collins book ‘Good to Great’ and while no business book has all the answers, you would always get a nugget or two from each book. The nugget I took away was what Collins called ‘the Hedgehog Concept’. It has a very important message for business owners and one we can easily forget.

The Hedgehog Concept

This concept comes from Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’ and is based on the Greek parable; ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’.

The story goes that every day the fox tries to trap the hedgehog, being smarter and more cunning he would devise all kinds of cunning attacks on the hedgehog. One day the hedgehog walks into a trap and is cornered. The fox says ‘I have you now!!’, the hedgehog looks up to the skies, smiles and rolls into a perfect sphere of sharp spikes. The fox can’t penetrate the spikes and retreats for another day.

The fox never catches the hedgehog because although he can devise all sorts of clever techniques to trap the hedgehog, he cannot get past the one big thing it does well. The hedgehog understands the power of simplicity, do one thing and do it well.

This is a key concept for business. Sometimes with so much happening in the day to day running of a business we can be a bit like a puppy chasing 5 tennis balls and be heading in all directions at once.

Never lose sight of your Hedgehog concept. What is your company best at? Is it customer service, quality of your product, best price, fastest delivery time, earliest check in time?

Also what are you deeply passionate about? Make what your company is best at one of the core values of the company.

And finally will this drive revenue for your business? Does what you are best at and feel passionate about drive revenue for the business.

The intersection of these 3 questions, represented as circles below is your hedgehog concept.

hedgehog concept

The book is a super read for anyone involved in business, easily accessible and can be read over a weekend.

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