Fox or hedgehog?

How to Fight Like Hell

Before I get started, I’d like to thank you for your encouragement as I continue to share my journey as a business owner. The positivity and enthusiasm I have received from readers is humbling.
If you missed it, my last post discussed the strategy we used to get the right people in the right seat of the bus. You can read it by clicking here!

Rodents are not my favorite thing; however, I’ll make an exception for the hedgehog.

What exactly is a hedgehog? Well, a hedgehog is a small rodent-like creature that has prickly quills similar to a porcupine. It can roll up into a ball and ram a predator. It has this one and only defense mechanism. Collins talks a lot about these clever little creatures in his book Good to Great. He explains how hedgehogs are able to fool a cunning fox!

I will paraphrase the concept here…

You see, great companies don't get distracted by the latest trend or fad.

The fox spends all day scouting and plotting to attack and kill the hedgehog. When he attacks he is met with the same defense over and over as the hedgehog rolls up into a tight ball of sharp quills. The fox sees the defense and retreats. Despite the greater cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins the battle. Turns out hedgehogs have a simple, effective line of defense – they keep things very simple by paying attention to what is important and ignoring the rest of the fox’s attempts to distract and attack (pg. 90-92).

This concept can be used to help companies make the jump from good to great. You see, great companies don’t get distracted by the latest fad or trend. Instead, they hyper-focus on what they are good at and repeat that defense again and again, just as the hedgehog repetitively rolls into a ball to ward off the fox.

The Hedgehog Concept involves three principles that combine to form one simple, impenetrable concept illustrated by the intersection of three circles.

  • What you can be the best at in the world
  • What drives your economic engine
  • What are you deeply
    passionate about










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The process of discovering the answers to the three principles was brutal! It took many conversations and hours of deep thought. I would write down what I thought were brilliant answers, just to come back the next day and say to myself, “What the hell was I thinking?”

Collins advises “A Hedgehog Concept is not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at. The distinction is absolutely crucial (pg 98).”

We all know that in business, it is important to know what you are best at. In my case, Crystal D is best at designing and producing awards for corporate recognition. We believe we can be the best in the world at this. When trends and fads roll through my newsfeed, I remind myself of this. I ask myself “What is our purpose? How do we behave? What are we best at?”

Rehearsing these tenets to myself has become a source of comfort, like covering cold toes with a warm blanket in the dead of winter. I remind myself over and over that the hedgehog actually wins the battle in the end, and he does it using this one simple strategy. For me, this is the layer of thick armor protecting me from the ups and downs that the day brings. Because we know who we are and what we are and what we do best we can fight like hell every day as we move towards our bright future.

Remember, focus on being a hedgehog, and you’ll win every time. My advice – don’t rush the process. Keep writing your thoughts down on paper and eventually, you will have clarity about what you are best at.


Have you mastered the hedgehog concept already? If so, I’d love to hear how you did it!

If you are struggling through the process today comment below, I’d love to help you find out what you are “best at”.

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