September 18, 2021

Hedgehog concept: focus on doing your own job

Mi Xiu learned about the “hedgehog concept” in reading Jim Collins’ “From Excellent to Excellent” book, and shared some of his own experiences. The concept of the hedgehog is derived from the ancient Greek fable “The Hedgehog and the Fox”, which tells:

The fox is a cunning animal, it can devise countless complicated strategies and secretly attack the hedgehog. But each time the hedgehog curled up into a ball, with spikes all over it pointing in all directions. The fox is fast, with smooth fur, fast footsteps, and insidious and cunning. It looks like a winner. The hedgehog is unremarkable, genetically like a cross between a porcupine and an armadillo. It walks and sways around, looking for food and caring for its home. Although the fox is smarter than the hedgehog, it is the hedgehog who has won many battles in practice.

This fable shows that the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows the most important things, and this is enough to make it escape from the cunning fox. In fact, people can also be divided into two basic types: foxes and hedgehogs. Isaiah Berlin is inspired by this fable. He believes that the thinking of foxes is “messy or diffuse and develops on many levels.” He has never concentrated their thoughts into a general theory or unified viewpoint. . The hedgehog simplifies the complex world into a single organized point of view, a basic principle or a basic idea, which plays a commanding and guiding role. No matter how complicated the world is, Hedgehog will compress all challenges and dilemmas into a simple “hedgehog concept”.

The Hedgehog concept emphasizes that the essence of profound thinking is simplicity. And this is why those outstanding people are distinguished from their equally smart people. Darwin’s natural selection: natural selection of things, survival of the fittest; Marx and communism: the idea of ​​great harmony; Einstein’s theory of relativity: E=MC^2; Adam Smith and the division of labor: “the invisible hand”. It is these people who have the essence of a hedgehog who simplify complicated events and bring us closer to ourselves.

By researching and investigating those companies that successfully made the leap from excellent to excellent, Jim Collins proposed the three-ring concept based on the Hedgehog concept-he found that the core competitiveness of each company that achieved the leap was not piled up by random simple concepts. It is a deep understanding of the following three-ring intersection:



In fact, applying the three-circle concept proposed by Jim Collins to the pursuit of personal self, such as life goals and career choices, is also meaningful. Take the example of the application of the three-ring concept in career selection. When you choose a career, have you considered these three links:

1. Is the profession I want to pursue the most talented for me? I can achieve excellent results in this profession, and this is your core competitiveness. Sometimes, what you can do best may not be what you are doing now. So you have to pay attention to your insight into yourself.

2. What is driving your economic engine? You must not only have penetrating insights, but also support your life, family, and future career advancement by making profits from your outstanding career.

3. Are you full of enthusiasm? Can this career arouse your enthusiasm and go all out. The problem here is not to stimulate enthusiasm, but to discover what makes you enthusiastic.

There is a proverb: “Shoemaker, just do your own work.” Walgreens is a company that relies on a simple hedgehog concept: “The best and most convenient pharmacy, substantial profit per customer”, and Through unremitting execution, we will finally achieve an excellent company that successfully leapfrogs. If you learn to find out the hedgehog concept in your life and career, focus on this and persevere. You are destined to be an outstanding person-to live the life you want and have a career you love, isn’t this your dream?

The Hedgehog philosophy tells us: Focus on your core competitiveness, and not easily distract your energy and resources.