Are you a fox or a hedgehog?

As told in an ancient Greek parable: Foxes often know many small things whereas the hedgehog know one big thing.  Individuals who strive to be great are hedgehogs. They understand that in our complex world, being able to simplify our energies into one singular idea that brings all your strengths together is the most important skill to have. 

It turns out to be that hedgehogs are great thinkers who are able to take complex problems and ideas and reduce them into simple but very profound ideas. This is the type of leader that is able to provide better insight and understanding; this in turn allows them to proliferate these ideas to their teams.

The hedgehog concept aligns three intersecting circles that should answer these three questions:

  1. What can we be the best at? (Equally important: what can we not be the best at?
  2. What do we have a passion for doing?
  3. How do we best monetize what we're the best at and have a passion for doing? 

This is one of the principles in "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. It's core principles are based around leadership but they can be applied to any and all fields given the fact that very rarely do we work in a bubble with zero need to work well with others. 

Some of the other gems in this book include:

  • Confronting the brutal truth: Create a culture in your organization or team where the truth can be not only told but the norm. 
  • First who then what: Your vision does not matter if you don't have the right people. First comes the right individuals, then you can shape the culture.
  • Creating a culture of discipline: Most important form of discipline for long term results is a strict adherence to the hedgehog concept mentioned above and the willingness to say no to any and all opportunities that fall outside of the those 3 circles.
  • Technology: Use tech as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. 
  • The Flywheel: From the outside your growth looks revolutionary and dramatic when it actually was built organically. There was no single defining action or lucky miracle that helped you breakthrough.