When the four biggest advertisers in the Toad Hollow Gazette band together to demand a big cut to the newspaper’s advertising rates, the newspaper’s publisher, Hedgehog, is left with an awkward dilemma of the type faced by many business leaders in the face of digital disruption and the other forces which are making it harder to run a profitable business. The outcome of Hedgehog’s dilemma is described in the allegory by Jen Lawrence and Larry Chester, Engage the Fox: A Business Fable About Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team.
According to ancient Greek wisdom, the Hedgehog knows one big thing, while the Fox knows many things. This makes the Hedgehog good at running a stable business in his field of expertise, but when he encounters uncertain times he is often blinded into thinking that only one or two obvious courses of action are available. This is where he needs to consult the Fox, who can generate numerous options which the Hedgehog would have overlooked.
Hedgehog and his team, with the guidance of Fox, eventually come up with a non-obvious solution to their dilemma as the result of working through the authors’ critical thinking process, which involves gathering information before making a decision, generating ideas using a fresh perspective, evaluating options using a logic-driven process, and agreeing at each stage of the process.
The allegory provides an engaging and compelling vehicle for presenting the critical thinking framework advocated by the authors. Rather than simply describing the framework, the book shows how it can be used to achieve a creative result which would have been overlooked by normal decision-making processes.