Good To Great - Consistency Is Key


Chapter 5: The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity Within the Three Circles)


What do you do very well?

What drives your economic engine?

What are you deeply passionate about? 

Key word:  Consistency

In this chapter, Jim Collins uses the metaphor of a hedgehog to illustrate the seemingly contradictory principle that simplicity can sometimes lead to greatness. When confronted by predators, the hedgehog’s simple, but surprisingly effective response is to roll up into a ball. While other predators, such as the fox, may be impressively clever, few can devise a strategy that is effective enough to overcome the hedgehog’s simple, and yet sophisticated response.

Similarly, Collins asserts, the way to make the transformation from Good to Great is often not doing many things well, but instead, doing one thing better than anyone else in the world. It may take time to identify the single function that will be a particular firm’s "hedgehog concept," but those who do successfully identify it are often rewarded with singular success. In order to help expedite this process, Collins suggests using the following three criteria: 1) Determine what you can be best at in the world, and also what you cannot be the best at; 2) Determine what drives your economic engine; and 3) Determine what you are deeply passionate about.

I credit my success to my ability to focus and stay in my lane; often I find that entrepreneurs tend to spread themselves too thin, juggling several ventures at a time. My general advice to business owners is before you start a new business make sure your primary venture is stable, additionally, do business where you understand the industry well.

Chapter 6: A Culture of Discipline

When you read about the culture of discipline, what is your immediate thought?

Self‐disciplined people who are willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibility.

This chapter examines the characteristics of a culture of discipline. The foundation of this culture is set by self-disciplined people that engage in disciplined thought and take disciplined action.

Another defining characteristic of the companies that Collins identified as great in his study was an overarching organizational culture of discipline. He is quick to point out that a culture of discipline is not to be confused with a strict authoritarian environment; instead, Collins is referring to an organization in which each manager and staff member are driven by an unrelenting inner sense of determination. In this type of organization, each individual functions as an entrepreneur, with a deeply rooted personal investment in both their own work and the company’s success.

In Collins examples of organizations with great cultures of discipline, good-to-great leaders embraced the construction of a culture around the ideas of freedom and responsibility within a given framework. In this environment, leaders were primarily responsible for managing systems, rather than people.

Although this discipline will manifest itself in a high standard of quality in the work that is produced by managers and employees alike, its most significant outcome will be an almost fanatical devotion to the objectives outlined in the "hedgehog concept" exercises. Disciplined workers will be better equipped to hew to these goals with a single-minded intensity that, according to Collins, will foster the transformation from merely Good to Great. In addition, the author asserts, it is important that within this overarching culture of discipline, every team member is afforded the degree of personal empowerment and latitude that is necessary to ensure that they will be able to go to unheard-extremes in order to bring the firm’s envisioned objectives into existence.

Take action

 Start a ‘Stop Doing’ List – it is more important than a ‘To Do’ List

We begin our next read tomorrow, make sure to pick up February's book "The Goal" by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox . Purchase here. Comment below your thoughts on the chapters 5 & 6, what was your take away?


Meet me on March 15th for a discussion of the book  'Good to Great'

Pick up a copy of February’s book  'The Goal: A process of Ongoing Improvement'