A business that’s a hedgehog could go good to great, but a business full of hedgehogs could be a disaster. At least, that’s what I’m thinking after taking a look over Tetlock’s latest book on Expert Political Judgment – How good is it?
Tetlock used a spectrum model of hedgehogs and foxes to investigate the thinking styles of experts and how they make decisions. Suggesting that generally they have two extremes– the fox and the hedgehog, and there is a range of hybrids in between. I’ve summarised it in the figure below:
What I found particularly interesting is that in his research which has spanned over 2 decades and included 284 world experts, Tetlock has found that it is the Foxes that have got a leg up (so to speak) over the hard nosed hard ball hedgehog. Apparently Fox style experts are more likely to have a balanced style of thinking which helps them to better deal with a constantly changing complex world. Hedgehog style experts tend to dig themselves into their intellectual positions and have a real problem dealing with counter-evidence to their decisions.
Some tell-tale signs of a hedgehog being near by is that you might hear statements like:
- “I was almost right”
- “Yes, but”
- “I made the right mistake”
- “There was some bad luck in getting it wrong”
So what are you? A fox or a hedgehog?
About Andrew Rixon