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Hedgehogs and Successful Sales

Young hedgehog out during the day. Karori, Wel...Image via Wikipedia

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to Isaiah Berlin's essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox."

"Foxes pursue many ends at the same time and see the world in all its complexity. They are 'scattered and diffused, moving on many levels' never integrating their things into one overall concept or unifying vision."

"Hedgehogs, on the other hand, simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything. It doesn't matter how complex the world, a hedgehog reduces all challenges and dilemmas to simple hedgehog ideas."  Visit the Jim Collins Laboratory for a fuller explanation of the Hedgehog Concept.

Fox-like sales people and sales organizations are narrowly focused on the results of the quarter, month, week, or even the day. Their focus is so narrow in time they can't see what will consistently generate new sales. They try it one way and if they do not get quick results, they reorganize and change strategy and then start off in a new direction.  Coincidentally, their passion for their work, their emotions, and their faith in success all swing back and forth like a pendulum.

Successful sales organizations and sales people are like the hedgehog.

They create a relatively simple sales strategy and tactics and execute them in a deliberate, focused manner over time without getting too concerned about the immediate results or the ups and downs of business development. As time goes on, they tweak their strategy and tactics as necessary as they gain an understanding of what is working and what is not.

Is your organization like the fox constantly changing direction or like the hedgehog steadfastly moving in the same direction?


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