Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Jim Collins

Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

I was thinking that this would be the perfect follow-up read to Built to Last, which it was… but I was happy to find that this book actually stands on its own.

Jim Collins explains his “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.”

In the parable, the fox uses a variety of strategies to try to catch the hedgehog. It sneaks, pounces, races, and plays dead. And yet, every time, it walks away defeated, with a nose full of spines. The fox never learns that the hedgehog knows how to do one thing perfectly: defend itself.

Organizations are more likely to succeed if they focus on one thing, and do it well. By doing so, they can beat their competitors and become truly great businesses.

An organization can find its “Hedgehog Concept” by making three separate assessments. First, it can understand what its people are truly passionate about. Next, it can identify what it does better than anyone else. And last, it can determine where it’s good at generating revenue.

Good to GreatPublisher’s Summary: Built to Last, the defining management study of the ’90s, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.
But what about companies that are not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? Are there those that convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? If so, what are the distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Over five years, Jim Collins and his research team have analyzed the histories of 28 companies, discovering why some companies make the leap and others don’t. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leadership: A surprising style, required for greatness
  • The Hedgehog Concept: Finding your three circles, to transcend the curse of competence
  • A Culture of Discipline: The alchemy of great results
  • Technology Accelerators: How good-to-great companies think differently about technology
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Why those who do frequent restructuring fail to make the leap

Overall, I think exploring the Hedgehog Concept is well worth checking out Good to Great by Jim Collins… plus there are tons for great case studies that you may be able to learn from.

So, the question is: Are you a Fox or Hedgehog?

Leave a Reply