Three Circles to Success

As we work with various clients on strategic planning and coaching, I’ve found that Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” is a great reminder of what it takes to achieve breakthroughs in both business and personal life. I think one of the most compelling concepts is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept. The concept stems from an essay written by Isaiah Berlin entitled “The Hedgehog and the Fox” which describes the tactics used by the hedgehog to defend itself and win against the fox. It’s quite analogous to the old story about how the tortoise wins the race against the hare.

As Collins has adapted this concept, there are three overlapping circles which describe three dimensions upon which good-to-great companies founded their strategies:

1. What you are deeply Passionate about
2. What you can be the best in the world at
3. What drives your economic engine

The intersection of these circles is where the good-to-great companies focused their attention which was crucial to their successful transition to become great. In working with my business coaching clients I have adapted these three circles to the following three elements, which I find people can relate to better.

1. What is your passion ( your purpose in life)
2. What can you be better at than anyone else you know ( your innate unique talents)
3. What measurements are vital to your success

Invariably, I’ve found that when people are working in an area that they are passionate about which is consistent with their innate unique talents in life or business (what they’re better at than anyone else they know), and they have built a measurement mechanism to give them feedback in how well they’re doing, they are more successful.

For example, one of my clients is a small business owner who had been laboring for 3 years to get his business going. He had lots of ideas about how to make his business take off. He would try them out for a few months and then abandon them to try the next one. Through these fits and starts he was becoming increasingly frustrated and confused. When we started working on a strategic plan for his business we spent a fair amount of time figuring out the answers to the questions in the first two circles. He got so excited about the connections he could form around his business passion, purpose, and unique talents that suddenly many of his ideas started to fit together into a cohesive picture about where he needed to focus his time and energy. We created an action plan and some simple measures that he could use to assure he was on the right track. He’s well on his way to a more disciplined approach to success that keeps him focused on the intersection of the three circles.

I encourage you to consider the questions in the three circles and ask yourself how you can spend more of your time and efforts focused at the intersection. Contact us if you are ready to go from “good to great”.