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Do You Have a Hedgehog Concept?


Every business owner strives for their business to be great. But what exactly makes a company great? What differentiates the simply good companies from the extraordinarily great ones?

Jim Collins strives to answer these questions in his book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t.” In the book, he shares an analysis of dozens of both good and great companies, and reveals a number of key concepts great companies consistently do to earn the mantle.

One of those concepts is the Hedgehog Concept, defined by Collins as, “A simple, crystalline concept that flows from deep understanding” of three circles. Those circles, courtesy of Collins, include:

  1. What you can be the best in the world at (and, equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world at).
  2. What drives your economic engine.
  3. What you are deeply passionate about.

Image courtesy of Jim Collins.

As Collins explains, all three circles must be present in order for the Hedgehog Concept to be fully developed. Once the Hedgehog Concept is defined, it is then used by great companies as a basis for all decision making.

After reading this chapter of “Good to Great,” we sat down as a team to define our Hedgehog Concept. Here are the results:

What are we deeply passionate about?

  • Empowering people/businesses
  • Fitness and wellness

What can we be the best in the world at?

  • Giving our audiences a voice
  • Caring and understanding our audience’s needs

What drives our economic engine?

  • Valuable business resources for niche audiences

The practice of defining our Hedgehog Concept was a good one, as it forced us to sit down and really think about what makes us successful. What was even better is that it didn’t take long, meaning we already have a deep understanding of what we can be the best in the world at, our economic engines and what we’re deeply passionate about.

If you haven’t defined your Hedgehog Concept yet, I suggest picking up a copy of “Good to Great.” The book is chock-full of insights and facts that provide invaluable insight into the factors that allow companies to transition from good companies to great ones. Who knows, maybe your health club could make the transition as well.


Rachel Zabonick is editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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