Saturday, June 18, 2011


Picture "Moonstruck" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney, love the simplicity of this photo.

My speech material follows, somewhat more elaborate than my 7 minute speech

The Fox and the Hedgehog

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing (Ancient Greek Proverb)

The fox is a flashy, cunning creature; the Hedge in comparison is a much simpler creature, he waddles along everyday searching for his food and taking care of this home. Day in day out the fox circles around the hedgehog waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.

"Berlin extrapolated from this little parable to divide people into two basic group: foxes and hedgehogs.  
Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity.  They are scattered or diffused moving on many levels, never integrating their thinking into one overall concept or unifying vision.
Hedgehogs on the other hand simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.  

Hedgehogs are not stupid, quite the contrary, they understand the essence of profound insight is simplicity.  What could be more simpler than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Dawrin’s Theory of Natural Selection? 
The Hedgehog aren’t simpletons; they have a piercing insight that allows them to see complexity and discern underlying patterns, Hedgehogs see what’s  essential and ignore the rest."

Another great example, in Buddhism Psychology all problems and joyed are reduced to being temporary.

The Hedgehog Concept

"Those who built the good-to-great companies were, to one degree or another, hedgehogs. They used their hedgehog nature, to drive toward what we came to call, a Hedgehog Concept, for their companies. Those who led the comparison companies, tended to be foxes, never gaining the clarifying advantage, of a Hedgehog Concept, being instead, scattered, diffused, and inconsistent."  

What is the Hedgehog Concept?  In a piece of paper in front of you I would like you to draw 3 overlapping circle, and inside this circle label the first one Passion, the second one “what we can be the best at, and what we can’t be the best at", and the last one "Economic Engine”

“If you make a lot of money doing things at which you could never be the best you only build a successful company, not a great one.
If you become the best at something you will never remain on top if you don’t have the intrinsic passion for what you are doing.
Finally, you can be passionate all you want but if you can’t be the best at it or it doesn’t make economic sense, then you might have a lot of fun, but it won’t produce great results.
The Hedgehog Concept is not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best.  It is an understanding of what you can be the best at.  This distinction is absolutely critical.” 

Johnny Depp Example
I really like Johnny Depp’s interview here.  He indicated he was claustrophobic and felt like he was marketed as a product, so he choose roles only that he had already in him, so that he could bring out the character from a place of honesty, how awesome of a statement is that!  He had passion, he knew what he was the best in the world, and he had the economic sustainability.

Toastmaster Hedgehog Example
Lets revisit the Hedgehog using our Toastmaster the vision that Olga (our ex-president of the club) gave me as an example:

Olga’s vision statement in qoutes

"A club that members want to belong to, where they come because they like spending at least 1 hour a week."  (Passion)

"A club that was Stimulating and Safe environment."
(What we can be the best at!) 

Our diversity and intellectual firepower and supporting members bring in a stimulating and safe environment, I once said it’s like tight rope walking, with the safety of a net.  It’s exciting to watch a performance as well as do one.

"….I felt that if the members are comfortable, they would want to reach personal goals that would benefit the club in general. I have tried to make this a social space for networking and promotion of the events that our members are involved in outside of the club. (Economic Engine)"

Toastmaster also builds the communication, leadership and confidence to support your economic engine!

Personal Hedgehog

To finish with I would like to challenge you to apply the hedgehog concept with your own lives.
1. Work out what your passions are.
2. Work out what you are the best at.
3. Find the opportunities within and outside your organizations to achieve economic sustainability.

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