Creating a compelling online presence requires a clear career path. Luckily, there is a formula to point you in the right direction.
How do I decide how to specialize?
In Jim Collins’ influential business book Good To Great, a study of companies that made the transition from good to exceptional, a theme that was found among all the exceptional companies was their focus on a “hedgehog concept.”
A hedgehog represents a simple idea that a company executes diligently, and which is the underlying direction for everything the company does. It is contrasted with other companies that act more like a fox, haphazardly trying numerous things to reach a goal.
What are the 3 Components of a Hedgehog Concept?
Rallying around a hedgehog concept can help companies settle on a strategic direction, and help people when choosing a career. To develop a hedgehog concept, one needs to reach a clear understanding of the intersection of three areas:
- What can you really be the best at? Desire is not key here, but real ability is.
- What will bring you the income you want? Translated, where are the jobs?
- What are you deeply passionate about? What would you do if money wasn’t a concern?
Think of it visually:
Collins explains in Good to Great using this illustration:
Suppose you were able to construct a work life that meets the following three tests. First, you are doing work for which you have a genetic or God-given talent, and perhaps you could become one of the best in the world at applying that talent. Second, you are well paid for what you do. Third, you are doing work you are passionate about and absolutely love to do, enjoying the actual process for its own sake. If you could drive toward the intersection of these three circles and translate that intersection into a simple, crystalline concept that guided your life choices, then you’d have a Hedgehog Concept for yourself.
Use this as a framework to examine your goals, strengths and weaknesses. In future posts, we’ll get into topics like the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), lessons from books like StrengthFinder 2.0, and many other ways to help you find your compelling value proposition.
TL;DR: Build your personal value proposition using the Hedgehog Concept!
Image from Stock Xchng.