The Council consists of a group
of the right people who participate in dialogue and debate
guided by the three circles, iteratively and over time,
about vital issues and decisions facing the organization.
In response to the question, How
should we go about getting our Hedgehog Concept?
I would point to the diagram below
and say: Build the Council, and use that as a model.
Ask the right questions, engage in vigorous debate, make
decisions, autopsy the results, and learnall guided
within the context of the three circles. Just keep going
through that cycle of understanding.
When asked, How do we accelerate
the process of getting a Hedgehog Concept? I would
respond: Increase the number of times you go around
that full cycle in a given period of time. If you
go through this cycle enough times, guided resolutely
by the three circles, you will eventually gain the depth
of understanding required for a Hedgehog Concept. It will
not happen overnight, but it will eventually happen.
Characteristics of the Council
||The Council exists as
a device to gain understanding about important issues
facing the organization.
||The Council is assembled
and used by the leading executive and usually consists
of five to twelve people.
||Each Council member has
the ability to argue and debate in search of understanding,
not from the egoistic need to win a point or protect
a parochial interest.
||Each Council member retains
the respect of every other Council member, without
||Council members come
from a range of perspectives, but each member has deep
knowledge about some aspect of the organization and/or
the environment in which it operates.
||The Council includes
key members of the management team but is not limited
to members of the management team, nor is every executive
automatically a member.
||The Council is a standing
body, not an ad hoc committee assembled for a specific
||The Council meets periodically,
as much as once a week or as infrequently as once per
||The Council does not
seek consensus, recognizing that consensus decisions
are often at odds with intelligent decisions. The responsibility
for the final decision remains with the leading executive.
||The Council is an informal
body, not listed on any formal organization chart or
any formal documents.
||The Council can have
a range of possible names, usually quite innocuous.
In the good-to-great companies, they had benign names
like Long-Range Profit Improvement Committee, Corporate
Products Committee, Strategic Thinking Group, and Executive