One Simple Business Strategy Leads To Success

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Author: Michael Warren Campbell – Reading Time: 2 min 21 sec.

Ever wondered how some companies become so successful that they evolve into cultural icons? Here’s a quick story about a hedgehog and fox that reveals the secret.

The hedgehog and the fox is actually an ancient aphorism by the Greek poet known as Archilochus. It states, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

It became popular through an essay by Isaiah Berlin. He divided the world into two types of thinkers – hedgehogs and foxes – based on an ancient parable.

The fox is sneaky and always trying to scheme up new ways. Their world is complex, and they’re always busy. They never tend to focus on a single unifying theory.

The hedgehog is simple. Hedgehogs organize the world into a single unifying concept. The fox, for all his cunning, gets defeated by the hedgehog’s one defense. It curls into a spiky ball, and the fox cannot harm it.

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Here’s what Isaiah Berlin said in his essay;

“There exists a great chasm between those who relate everything to a single central vision and those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory. The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes.”

In short, hedgehogs set goals, and they have systems by which they accomplish things. Foxes tend to go off in all directions, without a method, goals, or systems to success.

When applied to a business, it means “know yourself” and your core competencies. Have a well-defined culture and vision. Know who you are, why you are in business, and what you’re about. Have a clear idea about what you are trying to achieve.

The hedgehog and fox were more recently popularized by Jim Collins’ #1 bestseller, “Good to Great.” Why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

According to Jim, “Those who built the good-to-great companies were, to one degree or another, hedgehogs. They used their hedgehog nature to drive toward what we came to call a Hedgehog Concept for their companies.”

“Those who led the comparison companies tended to be foxes, never gaining the clarifying advantage, of a Hedgehog Concept, being instead, scattered, diffused, and inconsistent.”

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It’s fascinating stuff. Fox companies compare themselves to other companies and try to compete with them. Hedgehog companies focus on doing one thing and do it so well that they become cultural icons.

So do not try to “outfox” the competition. Aspire to be a hedgehog instead.

Get the Good to Great audiobook and let your ears feast on this wisdom while you drive, work out, or walk in the park. Check out few classics like Earl Nightingale’s “Lead the Field” and Jim Rohn’s “Art of Exceptional Living.”

Successful people never get tired of learning. And being in audio, you can listen as many times as you like. Slide this wisdom into your brain, and it won’t be long before your little hedgehog is leading the field with a remarkable life.

Michael Warren Campbell

P. S.

What about you? Are you a hedgehog or a fox? What’s the one thing that your company does really well. Do you have any tips that made you successful? I’d love to hear your story.

To chat with me about this article, message me @dmcorp on Twitter or dynamic888 on Skype. Please share it with your friends, colleagues, coworkers, and anyone else that might enjoy it. Thank you!

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