December 2, 2006

Are you a hedgehog?

This week I finished reading another great book that most of you have heard about or have even read; Good to Great by Jim Collins.  Let me just highlight a few takeaways I had from reading this book.

One of the most important points of the whole book, I thought, was getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats, with the “bus” being your company.  In an example of a great company making hiring decisions, the company put more of an emphasis on “character attributes than on specific educational backround, practical skills, specialized knowledge, or work experience.”  The right people you hire will be your company’s biggest and most valuable assets and, as such, the hiring process should be treated that way.

The other major point of the book that I want to write about was the Hedghog Concept.  This concept consists of three intersecting circles being represented by these three questions, what are you deeply passionate about, what drives your economic engine, and what can you be the best in the world at?  If your company can find a way to offer a product or provide a service that answers all three questions, then you are on your way to establishing a great company.  By having this Hedghog Concept concept in place, every decision and strategy that your company makes will be based on this understanding, making your company extremely focused on what you do best.

Good to Great is an excellent read and even though it is based on studies of large corporations, almost everything Jim Collins talks about can and should be applied to entrepreneurs and their startup companies.