Good to Great

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Michael Tauber

ENGT 4983 (Energy Related Internship)

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Tulsa, Oklahoma has been named the oil capital for the nation and the world for quite awhile and is a perfect place to study the energy industry. The University of Tulsa College of Business established The TU Energy Management program in September 2006 and started accepting students in the fall of 2007. The first graduating class to obtain the Energy Management major was comprised of only two students in December 2008 and May 2009. The program today is able to maintain disciplined and competitive students by having an application process but more importantly limiting up to thirty students per academic year. The TU Energy Management Program can easily be applied as a “Hedgehog Concept”. The “hedgehog concept” refers to a parable of a hedgehog and a fox, where the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. “Hedgehogs” by and large built the good to great companies, which means that they were able to focus on one big important thing that made their companies great. Energy management is excelling by being able to maintain the main ideals set from the beginning. Also, the “flywheel and doom loop” concepts can be related to both the good to great companies but more importantly the energy management program. These two concepts can represent positive and negative momentum. The “flywheel” concept is when the program has everything in place, lots of hard work slowly but steadily forced the companies going faster and faster, with a lot of momentum. And the “doom loop” concept is when times have changed and a hard decision is needed to be made to keep the program going in a forward direction. It is always important to know where the program has been and the direction the program is heading to keep the success going.

The “Hedgehog Concept” in chapter 5, Jim Collins uses the metaphor of the hedgehog to illustrate that simplicity can sometimes lead to greatness. When the hedgehog is faced with predators, he is simple but surprisingly effective by rolling up into a ball. Other predators, such as the fox, may be impressively clever; a few can devise strategies effective enough to overcome the hedgehog’s simple, repetitive response.

Likewise, the way to make the change from Good to Great is often not doing a few things well, but instead, doing one thing better than anyone else. The single great function that will be a specific organization’s "hedgehog concept," may take some time figuring out but those who do identify it are often rewarded with success. To speed up the process, Jim Collins explains using the three criteria: one, determine what you can be best in the world at and what you cannot be best in the world at; second, determine what drives your economic engine; and third, determine what you are deeply passionate about. The Energy Management program can easily fill in these three simple questions through our set of standards.

The Energy Management program definitely has a strong “hedgehog concept” especially when a sophomore knows the same simple ideals that were set in place from the start. The first question to ask is, “determine what you can be best in the world at and what you cannot be best in the world at”. One, the program has multiple career opportunities in both the Upstream and/or Midstream sectors of the energy industry. Second, graduates of EM are very likely to be working for major oil companies, large and small independents and financial institutions. Most Importantly, The Energy management program knows how to make a name for itself by having both an application process for entry and a limited amount of students each academic year. The second question to ask is, “determine what drives your economic engine”. The last question to ask is, “Determine what you are deeply passionate about”. One, the program brings in generous sponsored scholarships that are some of the highest on...
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