As you may have realized from reading some of my blog posts – I like to read. I like to read business books – but only the interesting ones. This book was highly recommended by Manny and is ‘From Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. The culmination of five years of research, it looks at a number of companies and who made the transition from being a good company to a great company. There are some surprises in there! Good To Great
As I was nearly half way through the book, I asked Manny his thoughts on whether he thought SMOL Design was a hedgehog or a fox. (I have no hope on explaining this properly so this is verbatim”The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” (Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox (1993)) and essentially the ‘one big thing’ that he knows is what benefits the hedgehog.
NB:this is not a good question to ask at 10.30pm as it is likely to trigger much thoughtful discussion that will continue the next day. Well, we haven’t yet got to the bottom of that question, but it did start us talking about what is it that we do? Not only that but what do we want to excel at?
We had to admit that in all honesty – we don’t really know, we don’t have the clarity that we need. Phew! I said it! When you realize that you are not clear on what your own business does, it’s quite a shock, but it explains why we feel that we struggle to articulate properly what it is we do. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a few years of pretty good learning, we experimented a bit, made some mistakes and we’ve moved on. Whilst we’ve had a lot of fun doing that, now is the time to really work towards figuring it all out. It’s time to find a way out of the fog and to discover – Who are we? What exactly is our passion? What makes us the best at what we do?
We have an idea of where we are going, but we are not ready to share. At this stage, things feel too complex; there is a need to strip everything back to the bare bones and to make some tough decisions. I anticipate growing pains as we strive to become less like the fox and more like the hedgehog. Hopefully the outcome will be worthwhile for SMOL Design and our customers.
So, (among other things) that’s what we are working on, we’ll let you know how it goes!
How about you? Have you struggled with figuring it all out? What helped you??