What if I told you that, more times than not, you are the biggest constraint to your success? For most leaders we work with, this is their reality. However, the irony is this: it’s not completely their fault. Very few leaders have been conditioned for success because they do not even know what it means to be successful.
Jim Collins is well known for a lot of his theories, but one idea that has caught the attention of most of his readers is the Hedgehog Concept. In this model, an individual or organization considers three things: what are you skilled at; what are you passionate about; what can you make money doing? Collins believes if you can discover where your passion, skills, and opportunity for profit meet, you’ve found your Hedgehog Concept that should guide your actions.
While it is a good practice to consider where opportunities might land on these questions, this analysis is not going to lead you to success. Sometimes, individuals and organizations have the responsibility to do something they are not all that skilled at simply because nobody else has the opportunity. Sometimes, it’s important an individual or organization does something they’re not passionate about because there’s a need that, if left unmet, would be detrimental for a community. Sometimes, individuals and organizations need to be involved in things that are not profitable because there is a need in our world for altruism.
Being successful is not the reward for good execution of a worthy strategy. Being successful is not a destination at all—it’s at the core of how one lives. When talking to leaders, a question we always ask them to consider is what’s his/her life’s imperative—what is it they know deep in their soul that they cannot not do? What is it that, if they do not accomplish by the time they idle their life down and enter into retirement, they would consider an absolute miss? It’s when we get serious about answering these questions that a leader really begins to get traction in their lives. In all of these conversations with leaders and even as I examine these question in my own life, one thing I’ve come to expect is this: oftentimes, the thing someone most needs to do is something they are not good at, they do not enjoy, or they will not make money at.