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The Hedgehog Concept… How To Take Your Company From Good To Great 

Hedgehog Concept

If you were to choose between being a fox or a hedgehog, what would you choose? 

Of course, without a second thought, you would choose to be a fox, that what most people would choose if they were asked the same question. 

What is not to like about a fox, he is smart, sleek, good-looking, and seems like a winner all the time. 

On the other hand, the hedgehog that small, prickly creature which is found mostly in Europe, Asia, and Africa, is quite the opposite: slow, quiet, and plodding.

But to our surprise, hedgehogs always win in the end, not foxes, and in this article, we will understand how that is even possible! 

Want Your Business To Be A Success, Be A Hedgehog

You might think that, what do foxes and hedgehogs have to do with your organization’s success?

Well, it has Everything to do with your business, Everything! 

According to Isaiah Berlin, founder of the concept of The Hedgehog Concept, business owners, and people, in general, are divided into two main categories which are foxes, and hedgehogs.

Princeton professor Marvin Bressler says that “you wanna know what separates those who make a great impact than those who are just smart, they are hedgehogs.” 

If you want to make a great impact in your field of expertise, be a hedgehog, take a look at the following examples of very well known, and successful people, who are hedgehogs: 

  • Freud and the unconscious 
  • Darwin and the natural selection 
  • Marx and class struggle 
  • Einstein and relativity 
  • Adam Smith and division of labor 

What is the Concept of The Hedgehog Concept? 

You might ask yourself, how those people succeed in making a huge impact even though they were just hedgehogs. 

The answer is simple, they followed The Hedgehog Concept.

 Here is a simplified explanation of The Hedgehog Concept. 

The Hedgehog Concept is based on an ancient Greek parable that states, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

This means the fox uses many strategies to try to catch the hedgehog. It sneaks, pounces, races, and plays dead. And yet, every time, it walks away defeated. The fox never learns that the hedgehog knows how to do one big thing perfectly: defend itself.

In other words, Hedgehogs took a complex world and simplified it. 

The Hedgehog Concept

To have a fully developed hedgehogs concept you need all three circles. 

Those three circles are: 

  1. Understanding what you are truly passionate about.
  2. Identifying what you can be best at, and better than anyone else.
  3. Determining where it’s good at generating revenue.

The Hedgehog Concept

Is “simple” enough? 

Now we can say it clearly, that success is not about having a strategy, It is all about simple, simple, simple ideas. 

But is it simple enough to make you successful? The world is full of companies with simple yet wrong ideas. 

You have to get the 3 circles of the hedgehog’s concept, to have a fully developed hedgehog concept you need all three circles. 

Every company would like to be the best at something, but few actually understand 

This concept is not a goal or a strategy, it is an understanding. 

 If you make a lot of money doing things at which you could never be the best, you will only build a successful company, not a great one. 

If you become the best at something, you will never remain on top if you don’t have an intrinsic passion for what you are doing. 

Finally, you can be passionate all you want, but if you can’t be the best at it or it doesn’t make economic sense, then you might have a lot of fun, but you won’t produce great results. 

Sources:  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim C. Collins