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Hedgehogs are Great (and they know it!)

What’s your ONE big thing?

Foxes are described as quick and clever (with a sly side, to be sure). Hedgehogs…well, they don’t often get described at all. They’re not chasing prey or making crafty plans, they just are.

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” – ancient Greek parable

Fox or hedgehog?

If that seems like a challenging (or improbable) question, try this one: would you rather be good, or great? As in, best in the world-great? Jim Collins developed the Hedgehog Concept in his book, Good to Great, and lays out the path to greatness:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What drives your economic engine?
  • What can you be better at than anyone else in the world?

Developing an understanding of the answers to each of these questions starts your journey to greatness. Goals are set from “yes we can, and we will rock this” rather than wishful thinking. A deep understanding (no guesstimates) of your true calling or passion; your stand-apart skill, product or service; and for which you can make a living, will reveal the hedgehog’s sweet spot. Where these things intersect is your end destination—this is where you will differentiate yourself from the rest, and Be Great.

“The good-to-great companies understand that doing what you are good at will only make you good; focusing solely on what you can potentially do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.” – Jim Collins

Smart, Savvy + Associates didn’t become great overnight. (And yes, we are great at recruiting top marketing, communications and sales talent.) I planted our roots in 2006 and dug in with the understanding that we know people, and that we are in the people business. So much so, that we trademarked our mantra, People are the Plan™.

On the path to greatness, I learned a few things that helped to shape our understanding. Some might call them serendipitous, or lucky breaks…I think of them as defining moments, the TSN Turning Points.

May 2007: A trusted advisor told me that I really should check out this LinkedIn thing. I had resisted to date as I didn’t think I needed another social platform.

September 2008 – We were deep in a recession that hit really hard, really (really) fast. A consultant I respect shared that companies who market hard during a recession gain a significantly better return on their efforts and capture broader market share. Why? Because while others are retreating you are advancing. I listened to that advice and marketed harder.

December 2011 – A fellow business owner said “Peter, think BIG. Vancouverites need to think bigger: build a business that spans markets and delivers a meaningful return to a broader market.

It’s now January 2018, People are still the Plan and we are expanding to other markets. What sets great companies apart? Their people. In business as in life, people are always the plan. The best laid plans always fall flat without the right people to drive them.

At Smart Savvy, we are firmly planted in the people business—we’re happy hedgehogs, and people are our One Big Thing. We are beyond excited about the upcoming year, as we dive further into the business of people through the Smart Savvy Academy, and deliver meaningful training experiences designed to accelerate performance and elevate business results. We’ll work with you to develop leaders who inspire, teams that thrive, and cultures that rock. And as always, we’ll replenish your teams by finding and assess top marketing, communications and sales talent. 

When you find your why, you are in that sweet spot of the hedgehog (and one that’s even better than the Purdy’s version).

Need support to get from good to great? Get in touch - we’d love to help.


 Peter.jpgPeter Reek is the Founder and President of Smart, Savvy + Associates. We find high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. We also provide leadership and training development programs for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Peter to discuss your organization's training needs.

Peter Reek

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