Hedgehogs at the Doctor’s Office

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

How the Hedgehog Concept can Help Your Practice

We know you love science - that’s part of why you’re a doctor! We love to recommend suggestions based on real organizational psychology that has helped thousands of business owners all over the world!

Let’s talk about hedgehogs. Yes - for real - hedgehogs! They’re more than the spikey creatures your neighbor bought their kid as a pet. The Hedgehog Concept is a theory about finding where your passions, talent, and money-making power align, so you can create a vision for your practice. Keep reading about the Hedgehog Concept below:

The Hedgehog Concept

A Brief History

The Hedgehog Concept goes way back in time to the words of the Greek poet Archilochus. He said:

Wow, are you inspired yet?

Then, Isaiah Berlin took this idea and wrote “The Hedgehog and the Fox” in his 1953 essay. Lots of Tolstoy is mentioned here, and he essentially applied the idea into two cognitive styles. He urges that being a fox or hedgehog is neither right or wrong, but rather, it reflects how you problem-solve. For example, Berlin identified Shakespeare as a fox and Dante as a hedgehog and broke down how each person falls into their respective categories. Why is this important for your practice? It’s helpful to know how your team likes to be led in order to lead them to success!

Phil Tetlock, a psychologist, challenged this concept even further. He concluded that foxes develop different strategies for each problem they encounter, and hedgehogs use one principle to solve their problems.

Then, in 2001, Jim Collins wrote the book The Hedgehog Concept and broke these ideas down even further. He applied them to business organizations in order to help them find a unified goal to work toward. This theory took flight, and it’s a popular business strategy used in many settings today!

Fox vs Hedgehog


In the wild, foxes are cunning, and they use different strategies to catch their prey - the hedgehog! However, it seems like they forget hedgehogs have quills! No matter how the fox attempts to catch the hedgehog, it’s difficult to get past their main defense.

In the office, hopefully you’re not running into any sharp objects! You may be frustrated because no matter what strategies you find, your practice is simply not growing! Maybe there’s something that can be learned from the hedgehog?


Ah, the hedgehog! In the wild, the hedgehog knows its biggest strength and it uses it as its only defense. It curls up and pokes it quills out, so enemies injure themselves if they come too close.

In the office, your hedgehog is focused on its one goal. You’re goal-oriented, but you focus on one goal and one strategy at a time in order to grow your practice! As an organization, your practice will grow faster as you adopt a hedgehog mindset! By understanding your core competencies and biggest strengths, you’ll be able to focus on developing revenue-generating strategies!

Lost Your Hedgehog? Here’s How to Find It!

Jim Collins, author of The Hedgehog Concept, created a three-step process to understand how to find your hedgehog.

Step 1: Understand Your Team’s Passions

What is your team passionate about? Check out our Team Engagement post for tips on engaging your team, so you can discover their passions! By understanding how each member brings value to your customers, you can grasp a better understanding of where their strengths lie! Another great way to develop team passions is through 360-degree feedback because it allows a two-way system for communication.

Step 2: Identify Your Core Competency/Unique Selling Point/What You’re Best At

Every doctor’s goal is to help people. Even if you’re the best doctor ever, can we dive deeper into this? What makes you such an amazing doctor? Do you have an exemplary staff? Access to state-of-the-art technology? You’re simply super awesome? Identify what your practice’s #1 strength is.

Having trouble? Try creating a simple SWOT analysis!

a worksheet to help.

adam kae hedgehog SWOT Analysis
Download PDF • 71KB

Ask yourself about what you’re currently doing that supports your core competency. How can you do more of those things? How can you change or remove activities that don’t support your strengths?

Step Three: Your “Economic Engine”

Today, it’s not enough to simply be good at what you do. Jim Collins uses the term “economic engine”. Economic Engine = your skills + what people want to buy. Take a look at your most profitable areas of business. How can you create strategies so you can do more of these? The more you understand how you create revenue the more you will understand how to create strategies to keep generating revenue.

Copyright © 2001 Jim Collins. Originally published in the book "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don't." Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Congratulations, You’ve Found Your Hedgehog!

And he’s very cute!

Now that you’ve found your hedgehog, what will you do with it? Systems like The Adam Kae way help you build business strategies around your hedgehog to prepare you for success. Contact us today for a complimentary Deep Dive!

Too much reading? Check out this infographic below:


The Hedgehog Concept - Strategy Tools From MindTools.com

Are You A Fox Or A Hedgehog? : Hidden Brain




Follow Us:

Facebook: Adam Kae & Associates

Instagram: AdamKae_CFO

LinkedIn: Adam Kae & Associates

Disclaimer: This article contains information and opinions from Adam Kae & Associates, and the information and opinions should not necessarily be seen as the best possible solutions for your business. Please contact us at info@adamkae.com to help you find the best solutions for your business.

77 views0 comments