In a conversation with a colleague last week, I touched on an idea from Jim Collins’ Good to Great. A brilliant book about what effective leadership really looks and feels like.
Collins talks about identifying your organisation’s “hedgehog concept” – the one thing that your business can be the best in the world at, which is defined by the intersection of three things. Your passions, your expertise and the driver of your economic engine.
I think this idea is really helpful for individuals too, in identifying where you can make the most impact. I just change the words just a little bit.
What are you passionate about? What do you love about your work?
Where does your expertise lie? What can you be REALLY good at?
What does the market want? Where “market” is defined by your role and might be no more complicated than “your employer” or “your organisation”, but could also be real stakeholders or customers. So… What is it about your unique skills, understanding and insight that is truly valuable to your “market”?
For me, the intersection of the answers to these questions is your Power Zone. It is where you can really make a difference, whatever your role.
We can sometimes let ourselves take on things that we’re passionate about and expert in, but that aren’t at the core of what our markets need. This can be good for the soul, but if we do it too much we are missing the chance to make a real tangible difference. And our bosses will wonder why they’re paying us for having our own fun at the expense of their priorities.
We all get drawn into doing things that the market wants and we are expert in, but if we’re not truly passionate about them we will struggle to sustain meaningful effort and eventually grow weary.
This way of thinking is really useful when you’re trying to develop vision and mission statements, for yourself or your team. And for helping set your priorities.
Lots of stuff in the “urgent but not important” quadrant in the Eisenhower Matrix is stuff that the market wants that you’re expert in.
If you can make time to pull yourself towards the power zone, by delegating the stuff that you’re less passionate about, you’ll enjoy your work more, and make more of an impact.