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Caring Senior Service Franchise Blog

What Is So Special About a Hedgehog?

Posted by Thomas Scott on Sep 6, 2017 3:43:00 PM

Hedgehog in some leaves

What is so special about a hedgehog? Aside from being adorable, a hedgehog has more than its scampish good looks going for it. The hedgehog also possesses some rather distinguishing traits that make it a role model for owners in our franchise system.

The story of the fox and the hedgehog is a century's old tale and has been applied to some of the world's greatest thinkers, writers, and leaders. The fable goes something like this:

"A fox and a hedgehog were walking down a country path. From time to time, they were threatened by hungry wolves. The fox, with his speed, cunning nature and intelligence, would lead the wolves through the fields eventually losing them. Breathless, the fox would then return to the path to continue walking. The hedgehog, with his coat of spikes, just hunkered down on its haunches to fend off the wolves without moving. When the wolves gave up, he would return to his stroll."

"A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing."

The Greek poet Archilochus summarized the fable by saying that "a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing." Think of the fox and the hedgehog. The fox is quick, cunning, and always on the move. The fox is slick and can extricate itself from various situations. The hedgehog, however, only needs to do one thing. The hedgehog rolls into a ball when it senses danger, and it stays hidden until the threat passes.

In 1953, historian Isaiah Berlin summarized the meaning of this fable in "The Hedgehog and the Fox," by saying that foxes are complex thinkers who account for different experiences and circumstances. But hedgehogs have the ability to focus along a single path. This allegory divides us all in into 2 categories: those who pursue many ends (the fox) and those who relate everything to a single vision (the hedgehog).

"The hedgehogs are more the big idea people, more decisive."

According to psychologist Phil Tetlock, "They [hedgehog types] reduce every problem to one organizing principle and are more the big idea people, more decisive." This description makes perfect sense when we look at a person who is a fit for franchising. The hedgehog will do plenty of research before making a decision. However, once the hedgehog proves the value of an opportunity, they move forward confidently. Under the leadership of a trusted advisor and in the possession of a thorough plan, a hedgehog will happily get to work and make things happen.

Conversely, the fox — that sly guy — would rather look at every angle, and formulate his own plan(s), versus relying on a proven play book. The fox, therefore, may struggle to fit in a franchise setting. Often questioning proven methods and spending time inventing new solutions to problems that have already been solved, a fox risks dissatisfaction as a member of a franchise system.

"Our hedgehog just hunkers down and does the work, and doesn't get distracted."

Jeff with Hedgehog award

At Caring Senior Service, we believe the key to success for our franchisees lies in the ability to focus on our time-tested system and become a master at it, much like the hedgehog. Founder and CEO at Caring, Jeff Salter, reveres the ways of the hedgehog so much that he gives "The Hedgehog Award" every year to a franchise owner who exemplifies the characteristics of the hedgehog. This individual embraces our proven business model, utilizes the ongoing support of Caring Senior Service, and does not try to reinvent the wheel. "Our hedgehog just hunkers down and does the work, and doesn't get distracted. In our business, that ability to stay focused has been a pretty accurate predictor of success for our franchise owners" according to Jeff.

Picture of Pat Abernathey


The 2017 winner of The Hedgehog Award is our Caring Franchise Owner in Boulder, Colorado, Pat Abernathy. Pat started his senior care franchise 5 years ago and exemplifies the persona of the hedgehog in his business. His hard work and dedication to using the Caring model to build a thriving business have created a legacy for his family and a valued resource for the elderly in his community. Pat was presented with his award this April during our Caring Senior Service Annual Owner's Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

We recognize that not everyone wants to be a hedgehog. However, if your philosophy is to avoid distractions and become a master at one big thing, Caring Senior Service may be a great fit for you. Ready to join TEAM HEDGEHOG?

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Topics: Caring Senior Service News

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