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Are You Striving for Greatness or Competence?

 

In order to be great, you must be competent.  But in order to be competent, you need not be great.  Big difference.  I love working with people that strive for greatness.  So it is no surprise that I love the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins.  In it Collins focuses on what it takes to go from a good to a great company.  Fascinating stuff.  Especially because there is a large segment of the population that never strive for greatness, average is good enough.  One of the central concepts in the book is the Hedge Hog Concept.  Essentially, it is a concept centered on the intersection of 3 key principles.   First, what can you be the best in the world at, and equally or more importantly what can you NOT be the best in the world at.  Second, what drives your economic engine.  In other words, understanding the most effective way for you to develop sustained and robust cash flow.  And third, determining what you are deeply passionate about.  According to Collins, finding the perfect intersection of these three things, is the foundation for the making of a great company.

I love this concept for many reasons.  For one, it’s simplicity is brilliant.  But more so because its main focus or foundational element is on finding that one thing or things that you believe you can become the best in the world at.  So many entrepreneurs think of ideas and then immediately try to figure out a way to be competent so they can quickly start making money.  If you strive for average, this is ok.  However, if you strive for excellence, this is a mistake.  Not because making money is not ultimately important and necessary.  But because if you can’t be excellent, you can never reach your full potential as a business or entrepreneur.

What a great metric to measure your ideas against.  What a great starting point!

If your idea can stand up to this high metric, then and only then should you start to think about the economic realities of pursuing the idea and your passion for it.

So tell me, what can you be the best in the world at?