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ERIC Number: EJ934738
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Outfoxing the Hedgehog
Barbieri, Richard
Independent School, v70 n4 Sum 2011
Jim Collins's "Good to Great" has attained near-scriptural status in organizations, including nonprofits, which Collins says constitute a third of his readers. The pivot point in "Good to Great" is the Hedgehog Concept. The "Hedgehog Concept" (HC), this author claims, is dangerous for schools because it distorts the nature of education. As Collins explains it, a Hedgehog Concept is "a simple, crystalline concept that flows from a deep understanding about the intersection of the following three circles": (1) "What you can be the best in the world at"; (2) "What drives your economic engine"; and (3) "What you are deeply passionate about." To have a Hedgehog Concept, one must be a hedgehog. As Collins defines that creature, "Hedgehogs see what is essential, and ignore the rest." In pursuit of greatness, or sometimes simply for survival, organizations, including schools, are now seeking their HC. Many independent schools are looking for that one thing in which they can excel, and around which they can build admissions and marketing, curriculum and programming, strategic planning and fundraising. But in proposing the HC, Collins took half of a classic duality, exalting it while debasing its counterpart. The hedgehog, in an aphorism more than 2,700 years old, is the opposite of the fox: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Should schools follow the hedgehog or the fox? This question needs to be answered in three areas: (1) schools' mission and philosophy; (2) their marketing; and (3) their main task of educating young people. (Contains 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A