The Hedgehog Concept

It just amazes me, this thing called politics. When tens of thousands of people are going to the streets and demand your resignation, you retaliate and threaten to declare a state of emergency. What emergency? You just quit and there are no emergencies. When so many people come to the streets in earnest, there must be something badly wrong with you. This thing called politics, if you are good at it, you can do whatever you want. Even the King cannot do much. This also applies to office politics.

What then is the key in getting so much power that gives you that much measure of immunity and arrogance? The key is in knowing the system inside out (so that you can manipulate it at will if you need to) and knowing the right people and get them in your gang, and at the same time, convince them that they should be led by you.

After reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” as noted in my earlier entry, the desire to read more business books kept growing. The new job that I am getting into may also be a reason for me to want to read back these books. I have even bought Kaplan and Norton’s latest book, “Alignment” and get a refresher on the Balanced Scorecard concept and especially the Strategy Focused Organisation, the best book and most outstanding idea from their oeuvre, in my humble opinion.

However, that said, I felt that the best management book that I have read, best being defined as the management book that actually affected me from inside out, is Jim Collin’s “Good to Great”. Read a good article of it here.

The book has great ideas but the idea that hit me really hard was the Hedgehog concept plus the elaboration on will and discipline.

What is the Hedgehog concept? It is at once easy to understand and at the same time, hard to grasp. Here’s an excerpt:

“Picture two animals: a fox and a hedgehog. Which are you? An ancient Greek parable distinguishes between foxes, which know many small things, and hedgehogs, which know one big thing. All good-to-great leaders, it turns out, are hedgehogs. They know how to simplify a complex world into a single, organizing idea — the kind of basic principle that unifies, organizes, and guides all decisions. That’s not to say hedgehogs are simplistic. Like great thinkers, who take complexities and boil them down into simple, yet profound, ideas (Adam Smith and the invisible hand, Darwin and evolution), leaders of good-to-great companies develop a Hedgehog Concept that is simple but that reflects penetrating insight and deep understanding.”

Great Baduk players, for example, display this Hedgehog concept. The politician mentioned above is a master of the Hedgehog concept. Jack Welch is a master of the Hedgehog concept. Gandhi is a great master of this concept as well. In fact, it is true. All the great people that comes to my mind are great Hedgehog concept pracitioners. To be great, I reckon, I must learn this Hedgehog concept and with great will, humility and discipline, things should work out well. I hope.

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1 Comment

Filed under Books, Business, Strategy, Thoughts & Commentaries

One response to “The Hedgehog Concept

  1. thats a wonderful blog post. The drawing at then end of the post is particularly interesting…why don’t you elaborate on that?

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