2006: Issue 2
Be a Hedgehog
The fox knows many things; the hedgehog knows one
In an essay published in 1953, Sir Isaiah Berlin contended that this statement captures one of the most profound differences in human beings:
“For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision….think and feel-a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance and on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way,….related by no moral or aesthetic principle; ….perform acts, and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal, their thought is scattered or diffused,…..” The Hedgehog and the Fox, Sir Isaiah Berlin, 1953.
Quite honestly, I was not familiar with this distinction until I read Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. Published in 2001, it was the culmination of five years of research intending to identify the distinguishing factors of those companies that achieved and sustained great results versus those that achieved good, even above average results. It contains some of the most valuable and practical information for leading great organizations all of which can be extracted and applied to leading a great life.
I have given much of the information at least cursory thought; yet, it’s the hedgehog concept that I’ve been recently toying with, and increasingly understanding its value – to my own life and to Tiberius. Collins contends the great companies embraced the wisdom of a hedgehog – the clarity of purpose – “a simple, crystalline concept that guided all their efforts.” Easy to identify – not really. Yet, from their extensive research, essential to achieving and sustaining greatness.
Fortunately, he provides many illustrations as well a tool for developing a hedgehog concept. First, answer the following questions:
Then, picture the answers to these questions as three circles in a Venn
diagram, and identify the area of intersection. This becomes your
I will also contend that while Collins is proposing defining our hedgehog concept as one of the essential components to achieving great results, I believe it has as much value in helping us make sense of the complexities in our own lives and the world in which live. So whether or not you are driven to achieve greatness or are content with good, I encourage you to identify your hedgehog concept.
ABOUT Extra Ordinary Living
Taking their learning from 20+ years in corporate healthcare, Janet Crawford and David Scheiderer, MD formed Extra Ordinary Living, Inc. in 2003 with an intention of helping physicians, other healthcare professionals and their organizations identify possibilities and opportunities, remove obstacles, and ultimately, optimize results.
Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends usually can identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future but live in the present;” thus, Extra Ordinary Living.
As Executive and Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our client's needs. We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results. There are so many reasons for physicians in particular to feel disenchanted with their chosen profession, their calling. Having a coach helps them get back in touch with their passion for being a healer.
The best thing about coaching is that it is all about you and what you want. We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept. We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions.
As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help you in your pursuit of authentic happiness, and the enjoyment of deep life experiences.
Copyright 2005, Extra Ordinary Living, Inc. All rights reserved.