In Jim Collins’ Best Seller Good to Great a pivotal point in the book is the Hedgehog concept. It makes you think about strategy differently. It focuses your efforts to where they absolutely need to be focused. I hope you find it as valuable as I do.
Are you a fox or a Hedgehog? There are two types of people in the World, Foxes and Hedgehogs. Foxes are smart, cunning, jack-of-all trades, and have a good grasp on many things. They dabble here and there, not focusing too much attention on any single discipline.
Hedgehogs on the contrary do one thing and do it exceptionally well. They have discipline and focus their entire being on that one outcome they must achieve. They are not dumb, quite the opposite, hedgehogs have a deep understanding of exactly what they want to accomplish and how to get there.
Just as people can be hedgehogs so can companies.
Detailed in Good To Great Collins’ talks about how the Hedgehog strategy is made up of three questions.
1. What are you ridiculously passionate about?
What gets you fired up? What can you talk about for hours without getting bored? What industry or product really fascinates you? You must determine what drives you, what you can work on without a manager checking up on you, what you would love to do every day. Think about it.
2. What can you be the best in the World at?
Also what you can not be the best in the world at? Not what you “strive” to be the best at, or “want” to be the best at. What you can actually be the best at. Also you must take a humble approach to determine what you can not be the best in the world at.
3. What drives you economic engine?
How do you get paid? You must determine how you will make money or all the passion in the world isn’t going to help. Now it doesn’t have to be a major focus but you must have an deep understanding of how you generate revenue and what functions of your business drive income.
Where all three of these ideas collide is where the magic happens. Find you passion, determine in what way you can be the best in the world at it and think long and hard about what value people would get from paying you money.
For business it’s an inspiring vision, a unifying thought, a company you love. Then finding your own Niche, changing up the game some how to take it to the next level, possibly the best in the world. By now you will understand how to make money not just for the sake of making money but because you understand the value you are creating. If you don’t have thorough understanding of your long term economic engine go back to the drawing board, all three circles must intermingle.
It’s not easy to find you Hedgehog strategy but just understanding how other companies went about it is a great start. In the book Collins’ goes into much detail about how companies found this Zen state of a Hedgehog strategy.