The Hedgehog Concept
With the newly released Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it couldn’t be a better time to talk about an approach to leadership known as the ‘Hedgehog Concept.’
This principle comes from Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great and describes how a business or organization ought to decide what goal/end state to pursue and how to achieve it. This approach originated from an ancient Greek parable that states, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Sonic knows one big thing really well: how to use his supernatural speed to fight the good fight! In the business sector, Jim Collins advises management to ask three questions that pertain to the betterment of their organization:
1. What can this organization be truly passionate about?
2. Identify what the organization can do better than anybody else.
3. Determine how the organization best generates revenue.
Breaking down these three pillars of the Hedgehog Concept reveals innate characteristics that predict long-term success. These three characteristics are passion, skill, and resource management. These three questions can be slightly modified and applied to benefit anybody’s life. Personalizing these questions can provide guidance on how to best select a pathway for long-term success:
1. What will I be unconditionally passionate about pursuing?
2. In what direction is my life heading and in what profession do I have the potential of becoming the greatest in the world?
3. What resources and skills do I have? How have previous experiences shaped me into the person I am today?
These questions take the root of the Hedgehog Concept and phrase them in such a way that asks whether or not your mindset is in the right place to achieve prolonged success in your career field. As you ask yourself these questions, think about whether your beliefs and daily habits align with your ultimate purpose. What you do today must prepare you for tomorrow.
Good to Great: Jim Collins