Build In Value Blog

What Is Big, Hairy and Audacious … Is it Your Goals?    It should be!

By Rand Manasse

Big Hairy Audacious Goals are called BHAG’s (pronounced BeeHaagh).

Perhaps you’ve heard the term before. It originates from the book “Built To Last” written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

In their research, Collins and Porras found that companies that were built to last (and later ones that went from Good to Great) had long-term goals that were on the edge of being extremely ambitious yet possible.

Many businesses focus on goals set forth for today, this week, this month or the next one to five years. It’s important to set these goals, but for the long-term it’s necessary to understand where the company is headed and what is expected of the employees and the team.

Only with a BHAG can a business truly go from good to great and then build itself to last.

What is a BHAG?

A BHAG sets a goal that makes your team think about a finish line. The goal gets people excited and gives them a clear reason for doing what they do each and every day.

A good BHAG creates two relationships with your business. First it aligns with your Hedgehog Concept and second it builds on the momentum contained in the The Flywheel strategy.

In aligning with your Hedgehog Concept your BHAG needs to fit with what you’re

         1) Passionate about,

         2) What you can be Best in the World at,

         3) And it has to fit with what drives your Economic Engine.

If your long-term goal doesn’t fit with these three elements then your BHAG will not survive.

It’s not always easy to come up with a BHAG but if you have developed a Hedgehog Concept which focuses your organization on how to be successful it will be a catalyst to develop your BHAG. 

That is how creating a BHAG follows the framework needed to be audacious, but also attainable.

Second, the BHAG needs to fit with your Flywheel strategy. Often in business it takes time to learn what your Hedgehog Concept is. To do so you might have to try different strategies until one comes through as the key winner. 

It might start with one implementation and then another until you realize that you’re riding the momentum of your flywheel.

Then is the perfect time to set your BHAG. You have a clear understanding of your Hedgehog Concept and the flywheel is spinning faster and faster and it’s gaining momentum.

It’s Time To Create Your Vision, Your BHAG

Now that your business understands the Hedgehog Concept and you have the flywheel spinning it’s time to create your vision or your BHAG.

Henry Ford has a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. He was not the first person to have the idea to create an automobile. He wasn’t even close to the first.

What Henry Ford created was a long-term goal to create an automobile for the mass public. Up until his idea the automobile was only for the elite class. You had to have wealth to afford such a luxury.

Henry Ford realized that he was passionate about automobiles. He found a method for building affordable automobiles and the model was profitable.

From there he set his BHAG to become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world and within a few decades that is exactly what happened.

The goal was big and audacious, but those on the team understood that it could be achieved. They could see the momentum building. They were on board and they knew when they reached the finish line because the company became the biggest in the world.

Amazon is another example. The company was founded in the early days of the Internet and Ecommerce boom. The company started by selling books.

Momentum started building around this idea and soon Amazon was the biggest online bookseller in the world.

But that wasn’t enough. Once the goal was achieved Amazon realized there had to be another finish line or another BHAG.

Today, Amazon is focused on becoming the most customer-centric company in the world. They have the passion. They know they can achieve it. They have the profitable business model.

It’s a goal that is attainable.

Final Challenge

Now it’s time to set your BHAG.

Share your idea for your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal in the comments.

Let’s discuss your company’s future and how you can achieve your goal in the next two decades.

To your success

Rand

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