Foxes and Hedgehogs

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

-Bruce LeeAt the SBA Network we talk a lot about our “Rules of Attraction”, and how to use the attraction mindset to radically improve your business. Rule number 1 is, “Become a Bigger Fish in a Smaller Pond.” Find a small niche in which you can dominate the marketplace and focus all of your efforts on that market. Doing so is often counterintuitive for many business owners and executives, and I was reminded why when flipping channels recently.I stumbled across a new documentary on PBS based on the landmark business book by Jim Collins, Good to Great. The book was based on years of research into the differences between “good” companies and “great” companies. Collins’ research team studied companies that were similar to one another in size, market, and performance, and then one suddenly outperformed the rest. They sought to discover what made this happen.One of the main factors they discovered was having executives that could be classified as “hedgehogs” as opposed to “foxes”. A fox is a crafty animal, focused on many things, and it spreads its attention between them. A hedgehog, however, is very simple, and focuses on one big idea.Personalities of business leaders can be classified into these categories, and that may be why the hedgehogs of the world find it easier to narrow their market to a small niche they dominate. They have the discipline to stick to what they do best, and not branch out into markets that will dilute their focus.This is why Southwest Airlines has been the dominant budget airline since the 70s. They have had many opportunities to add meal service, first class, and other amenities, but resisted the temptation to do so. While they may have increased revenues, they would have also increased their costs and split their focus. Their executive team are hedgehogs through and through.Are you a fox or a hedgehog? Can you learn to ignore your fox tendencies and become more of a hedgehog? Can you become disciplined enough to keep your focus?To watch Jim Collins discuss his ideas, click here to visit a website for a special multimedia version of his book. Click the “Begin Experience” button that shows up, then select “Play” on the left of your screen. I also highly recommend that you check the HD feed of your local PBS station and look for “Good to Great”.

Posted in Management Development, Uncategorized.

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