In Jim Collins’s iconic book Good to Great, he takes the old Greek parable of the fox and the hedgehog and uses it as a metaphor for describing companies that attain greatness. The fox, in it’s crafty way, knows many little tricks, tactics, and ploys which it employs against it’s quarry. The hedgehog, on the other hand, it’s coat bristling with quills, knows one really big trick — one that foils the fox every time.
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s easy to get caught up in creating new programs, products, and projects, with the aim of using all your company’s assorted tricks. However, you should be careful not to overextend your company. You may find yourself to be “pretty good” at a lot of different things but not a true market leader at anything in particular.
Those companies that have successfully gone from good to great have made sure to focus on one big thing, something that sets them apart. It really comes down to a question of differentiation. What can you be the best in the world at? What are you deeply passionate about? What drives your economic engine? The answers to these questions will lead you to your hedgehog. Once you’ve figured it out, it’s time to cultivate it — this means reassessing any elements of your business which divert energy away from your path to greatness.
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