Company Must Have: Big Hairy Audacious Goal!

We all know that goals are vital for everyone; one thing that sets an outstanding company apart from the others is the way they set objectives.  Great companies set great goals.

James Collins and Jerry Porras wrote in their book ‘Built to Last’, about BHAG, which stands for ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’.

A BHAG is a strategic business statement created to focus a business on a single medium-to-long term goal for the whole organization that is ambitious, extremely challenging, likely to be questioned by people outside the organization, but regarded as possible by those on the inside.

Big Hairy Audacious Goals have four characteristics:

  • They’re very, very, very big.
  • They will take several years to achieve.
  • You won’t yet know the details of how to accomplish the goal when you set it.
  • The goal is specific enough that everyone will know if you achieve it.

Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, according to Jim Collins, involves answering three important questions in no particular order:

  • What can you be the best in your world at?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What will drive your economic engine?

It is very similar to a vision statement and many great business leaders have had their vision…

  • In 1934 Walt Disney aimed to do something that had never been done before: to create a full length animated feature film…Snow White. He committed most of the company’s resources.  People in the industry called it ‘Disney’s folly’, but history proved them wrong.  It created a new market and he later went on to produce Bambi, Pinocchio and Fantasia. All were outstanding box office successes.
  • In 1990 Sam Walton of Wal-Mart set a new goal: to double the number of stores and increase the sales volume per square foot by 60% (specifically $125 billion) by the year 2000. At that time the largest retailer in the world had only reached $30 billion.
  • In the eighties Jack Welch the CEO of General Electric set a huge goal for his company – ‘To become No. 1 or No. 2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of a small company.’ By the late nineties…he had succeeded.

Just like you do with any goal, you will need to commit to your BHAG and start making headway immediately.  You can break it down into smaller, measurable mini-goals, but make sure you check-in on your progress regularly.

Realizing your vision must be met with a plan and the resources necessary to get there.

Make the commitment to achieve your extraordinary ambitions today and plug into the power of big goals.  Once you decide it’s BHAG or bust, your business and life will never be the same again!

What’s your BAHG?

Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC. “ We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition.” We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization.

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