The Hedgehog and the Fox

The Hedgehog and the Fox


Are you a hedgehog or a fox in business? The Hedgehog and the Fox describes how the world can be divided into two types.

The wily fox is cunning and knows many things, using complex strategies to attack the hedgehog. Whereas the hedgehog is single-minded and knows one big thing- rolling up into a perfect sphere of sharp spikes to defend itself against the fox. he stubborn hedgehog always wins despite the many different tactics the crafty fox uses.

In business strategy the Hedgehog Concept is developed in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. It is not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, or a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at – and sticking to it – a distinction that is absolutely crucial. The Hedgehog Concept is defined as the sweet spot intersection of three circles, as follows:

1. What you are deeply passionate about  The idea is not to stimulate passion but to discover what you love doing.

2. What drives your economic or resource engine? How generate sustained and robust cash flow and profitability?

3. Discover a single driving denominator known as ‘Profit per x’, which has the greatest impact on economics. For non-profits or social enterprises, this could be a resource engine broken into three parts time, money, and brand.



4. What be the best in the world at (and, equally important what you cant be the best at). If you can’t be your core business, then your core business cant form the basis of your Hedgehog Concept.

5. Defining your Hedgehog Concept is about clarifying what you do and why you do it which is an iterative process.

How valuable are these ideas on strategy when most leadership teams have too much to do already It’s all about clarity. A clear strategy and vision ultimately leads to clarity with your people, your suppliers and your customers.  Clarity translates into focus.

With the increased intensity of focus, your people will accomplish more. Strategy drives revenue.  If your company grow, then these strategy elements will fall on deaf ears.  Of course there’s a danger in not growing.  As Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds said, “When you’re green you grow; when you’re ripe, you rot.” 

Whether not you’re a stubborn hedgehog or a wily fox in business, understanding of what  you can be the best in business at and stubbornly sticking to it, is a proven key to success. The Entrepreneurial Operating System EOS® is a blueprint for building a growth focused company. If you own a business and are feeling frustrated, stuck or unhappy, there are a number of steps you can take today.


“The tools of EOS® are the best I have ever seen and implemented.”

-Dawn Foote, Co-Founder & Director of Katapult Ltd


Written by Dean Breyley, Grow or Die

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