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07/12/2006

Peanut butter and hedgehogs: Yahoo!'s troubles

David Armano at Logic+Emotion has a good commentary on the "peanut butter memo" from Yahoo! (the alleged admission by a senior vice president at the company that it is spreading itself too thin):

This part in particular really sticks with me.  Pun intended.  Passion is lost when you spread anything too thin.  Brad spends some time talking about a business strategy which tries to do everything and does nothing exceptionally well—resulting in frustrated, unproductive and less than engaged employees:

Recommend reading the whole of David's post.

This really reminds me of the "Hedgehog Concept" identified in one of the best business strategy books I've ever read: Good to Great, by Jim Collins.

If you've not read it, in essence, Collins identified the key characteristics of companies that had consistently outperformed the rest of their peers. The Hedgehog Concept is all about having the insight to understand what your company can be best in the world at, what your basic "economic engine is" and having the discipline to keep focussed relentlessly on that.

Again and again Collins saw the best performing companies discovering and exploiting their own hedgehog principles, while their competitors seemed unaware of theirs and were easily distracted. 

: : BTW - Jim Collins' website has a great resource of MP3 audio files on various topics around the book.

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