Good to Great: Hedgehog Concept


In Good to Great, the second part of disciplined thought is the hedgehog concept (the simplicity withing the three circles).

The thought is that all companies (and perhaps people too, in order to achieve greatness that is) need a “deep” understanding of three areas that join together to form one simple concept (the Hedgehog Concept).

So what you love = “what you are deeply passionate about”. What you’re good at = “what you can be the best in the world at” and I think it’s important to note the best-in-the-world part! And finally, what pays well = “what drives your economic engine”.

About the “what you can be the best in the world at”. It’s not about what you want to be the best at but what you can be the best at. Mr Collins says that the Hedgehog Concept is not a goal or strategy or an intention. Instead it is the understanding of your potential.

If, for instance, your core business is X but you can’t be the best in the world at X, then that cannot be the basis of your Hedgehog Concept. This is a severe stance and, rather than what you have a competency in, you instead need to pick what you could truly be the best in the world (to borrow a Jeremy Clarkson phrase) at. This also means that you might not be competent at something but actually be the best in the world at it!

To choose the drivers of your economic engine, you need to find indicators that have the greatest impact of your company. Profit per customer of employee (or cashflow per X in non-profits) must result in the greatest impact in order for you to become great.

The difference between great companies and their comparisons is that great companies set goals and strategies on this core understanding (what I can be the best at, what I’m passionate about, what drives economic value) rather than pure bravado.

How do you settle on your Hedgehog Concept? Setting up a Council might be an idea. The Council exists to work on understanding important issues the company is facing. It is assembled using leading executives (but it doesn’t necessary limit itself to members of the membership team; it can/should included) and ranges from five to twelve people in size. Council members can argue to their heart’s content, not to win some e

Finally, you don’t need to be in a great industry to be a great company. Great news: being great is industry agnostic!


One thought on “Good to Great: Hedgehog Concept”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s