What Kyle, TX Can Learn From the San Antonio Spurs

When you think of Kyle, TX, what ONE thing comes to mind?

That’s the question I have been asking myself lately. Kyle is many things, but it’s not ONE thing. And that, to me, is a problem. For Kyle to be great we must decide what defines us.

Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great, calls it the hedgehog concept — named so by contrasting a multitalented fox with a dogged, single-minded hedgehog. Great businesses and organizations, he contends, need to be like hedgehogs. And I agree.

To discover Kyle’s hedgehog concept, Collins says we must build on a framework of three intersecting questions. What are we passionate about? What can we be the best in the word at? And, What drives our economic engine?

Hedgehog Concept

Take for example the San Antonio Spurs. To me, no organization has a clearer understanding of their hedgehog concept than the Spurs.

Since 1998, the Spurs have been to the playoffs every year, including 10 conference championship appearances and five NBA championship titles. That’s an astounding accomplishment because it spans nearly twenty years. How do they do it? The Spurs are built on the peculiar notion that, in the end, team basketball usually triumphs over more superstar-driven programs. Coach Gregg Popovich famously refers to his players as having “gotten over themselves.” When times are tough, they defer and rely on each other. They are just as happy when their teammate scores as when they do.

“So many times we promote the individual. Oh Lebron. Kobe. Kevin Durant. But then we leave out something that’s really unique and special. And that’s TEAM.” — Magic Johnson  

To understand what I mean, take six minutes and watch this video, even if you don’t care for basketball. Think about Kyle while you do. WARNING: You will get goosebumps.

That, my friends, is a hedgehog concept. The San Antonio Spurs believe one thing above all — to be the best, they must work together as a team. Each player utilizes their talents so that others can flourish. They are passionate about TEAM basketball. They are the best in the world at TEAM basketball. And TEAM basketball wins championships which drives their economic engine.

Working as a team is much easier said than done. Kyle has 30,000 residents, hundreds of businesses, dozens of churches, clubs, and organizations. We have a political system that utilizes seven councilmembers, dozens of boards and committees, over 100 city employees, more than 20 public and private schools,  and it’s all couched inside the notion that Kyle is a bedroom community, meaning most of our citizens live here but work somewhere else.

Therefore, for us to be successful, we need to drill down on exactly what we are trying to accomplish. We have to define our hedgehog concept. What can we work together to be the best at? What can we develop a passion for? What drives our economic engine?

While I don’t have a simple answer, as I campaign for city council, these are the questions I am asking. These are the questions Kyle desperately needs someone to answer.