I hope everyone enjoyed Father’s Day weekend this past Sunday. Thank you to all my followers who read, commented and shared my most popular post to date “5 Business Lessons My Father Taught Me, Father’s Day Edition”. I look forward to providing relevant content like this in the future so thank you for the support.
This post is a continuation of my LinkedIn blog post on Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” which examines why some companies are “good” while others become “great.” View my lasts posts from previous chapters of the book:
- My LinkedIn Blog Series: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins (Intro)
- My LinkedIn Blog Series “Good to Great”: Are you a Level 5 Leader?
- My LinkedIn Blog Series “Good to Great”: Who’s on your company bus to greatness?
- My LinkedIn Blog Series “Good to Great”: Be a Realistic Optimistic (Counting your eggs but know they will hatch)
Collins uses a fox versus hedgehog analogy that is similar to the childhood story of the tortoise and the hare to explain the patience and persistence needed to take a company from good to great. The fox may seem crafty and swift but in the end its the hedgehog, with its patience and well thought out strategy, that ultimately comes out on top.
This part of the book reminds me of one of the most important sayings I learned while in law school at the University of Georgia (Athens, GA). Professor after professor repeated to our anxious group of young minds that “law school is a marathon, NOT a sprint.” That phrase may mean many things to many people but in my mind, it means the same concept that Jim Collins tries to impart with his fox vs. hedgehog analogy and that is this: Business success, like law school, takes perseverance and patience. There will not be one defining moment or event that happens short term that defines business success. Instead, it will be daily wise actions and choices that over time lead to business success.
Another aspect of the Jim Collins’ hedgehog analogy is this concept of a “Hedgehog concept” which involves 3 components to determine what a business hedgehog concept is in order to become a great company. They are:
- What is your passion?
- What is your ability in the business?
- What can you be the best at in the world?
Answer these questions and you have Jim Collins’ hedgehog concept and go on to greatness.
Now I am going to apply this hedgehog concept to small businesses. Remember that Jim Collins research and book are based on huge publicly traded businesses. While Nos. 1 and 2 are easy enough to apply to small business owners, I am going to frame No. 3 differently. The question small business owners should be asking themselves is instead “What can I be one of the best at in the world?” Business owners should also keep in mind that perception is reality so even if you aren’t the best, if you give the perception or branding as if you are one of the best, greatness is within your grasp.
For example, my law firm is not THE best business law firm in the United States. We are small and fairly new to practicing law so I cannot make that claim. But make no mistake—we ARE one of the best business law firms in Georgia. And for me that is enough to become great because I cannot compete with THE best business law firm in Georgia.
Discussion Question: I CHALLENGE Jim Collins’ theory that to be a great business you need to decide what can you be the BEST at in the world, particularly when it comes to small businesses. Do you agree?
Attorney Dar’shun Kendrick is the owner of Kendrick Law Practice, LLC, a boutique business law firm in Decatur, GA focused on keeping growing Georgia business owners “IN business and OUT of Court” through a variety of customized business and legal services. She has an M.B.A. as well as serves in the Georgia House of Representatives.