When Wall Street is Crumbling and Iceland’s Melting you have a choice; Hedgehog or Fox?

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"The fox knows many things…but the hedgehog knows one "BIG" thing." Isaiah Berlin.

Jim Collins termed the hedgehog concept in his bestseller, "Good To Great." He drew a picture around the Greek parable of a crazy fox chasing after every thing it smelled, contrasted to the deliberate, intentional and focused hedgehog; who knows one thing and knows it well.

The hedgehog concept, Collins argues is the "pivotal point within Good To Great." The hedgehog concept is the intersection of three circles: What can a company be best in the world at, what drives the economic engine and what is the company passionate about.

In later years, Collins increasingly discussed the hedgehog concept as it pertains to individuals. Ever since I sat wide eyed and jaw open listening to Mr. Collins live, I’ve been a believer! Over the years I’ve spent many a hours drawing circles …daisies and tulips. But really, these three circles are my passion, it’s my purpose to delve into them; Passion, Purpose, Profits.

Purpose. I define purpose a little differently than Collins and yet much the same. Purpose describes a person’s uniqueness, their giftedness, their natural talents, the things that come divinely, and the things they are most often receive compliments on. It’s dna, its divine, its unique and for many it feels like a calling, their purpose; why they are here on planet earth.

Passion. When you do this you feel alive, like you, exhilaration, hilarity, in the zone, you do it for hours and it feels like mere moments have passed, it’s where excellence and magic come together for you, it gets you up at 3am…The things your passion about, are on your morning ‘grateful’ list, they make you glad your alive, even when Wall Street’s crumbling and Iceland’s melting.

Profits. Financial mechanisms that fuel your life and the life of your company. What are the financial mechanisms, engines that intersect the intersection of your passion and purpose?

At the intersection of Passion, Purpose and Profits, we find our personal hedgehog niche. As children of the creator; I believe this is sacred place, holy ground; because it’s where we come alive, are most aligned with our source and flat out outlandish powerful, courageous animals!!!

It is here I guide others, it’s personal and sacred. Time and time again, I watch as clients and team members peel back the layers of what they’ve been told they should do, socialized into, agreed to; the words, false beliefs and agreements that are no longer their truth, if ever they were. I watch as masks dissapear and people discover, excavate their most authentic self.

Liberation. Freedom. Authenticity. Hedgehogs.

As exciting as it is to help an individual discover their hedgehog concept its even more of a high for me to orchestrate the process by which companies, ventures, teams, projects and businesses define and discover their hedgehog concept.

The surest way to lose your balance is to try to do everything, know everything, or be everything to everyone.

Hedgehogs know one big thing. They study the competitive landscape and then come home for reality check. What can we best at…best in our area, best in our industry, best…A quick strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats analysis identifies the questions we must ask and delve into.

Stripping away all the layers of the business and quieting all the insatiable busyness allows leaders to see their genuis; the magic that is their hedgehog concept.

What are we best at…what could we be better at… and what we could own…if we worked at it?

Marketers, of which I am one, often refer to this as differentiation but for those of us passionately involved in the entire business process; development, business modeling, execution and operations this is not mere marketing, as important as marketing is, rather the hedgehog concept is the cornerstone, the foundation from which we build the business model. The business model is the recipe for success; a sustainable, innovative, value orientated market solution which realizes the ROI goals of the team.

Marketing is how we explain who we are…but first we have to be something, instead of everything. So we have to understand what we are, before we build the recipe; to be it, Then we must resource it with the capital and the team to sustain it. The operations systems and processes supported by great financial management set us on our way. Decisions are continually filtered through the intersection of our three circles; through our hedgehog concept; what it is we are, who we want to be in the marketplace; what we can be best at, what drives our economic engine and what we are passionate about.

Most often,  hedgehog therapy leads to redesigning business models, re-training teams and adapting new operation systems, processes and budgets and then our communication strategy has the focus and clarity that allows our branding and marketing to skyrocket!

Hedgehogs don’t do everything; they have stop doing lists, they say no; because they know one "BIG" thing. Foxes say yes; to everything and believe that more is always better…when in business; more is often less; at least when more is runnning in circles being all things to all people. The hedgehog listened to that country song that says, "If you don’t stand for something your gonna fall for everything."

So empower the HEDGEHOG WITHIN:

go visit Jim Collins website listen to his audio recording on Hedgehogs

Read the chapter on The Hedgehog Concept in Collin’s book Good to Great

Sit down and draw your circles…Passion, Purpose,Profits.

What opportunities are at the intersection of the three circles?

Draw your companies circles; Best, Passion, Economic Engines.

What opportunities are at the intersection of the three circles?

Make a ‘stop doing’ list; everything you need not to do if you want to be a hedgehog!

Make a "what can we be best at" list.

Begin a dialogue with your team on strategy and execution

Pam Hoelzle www.pamhope.com

"With" is a powerful thing!

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