You Need a BHAG In Your Life

by | May 6, 2015

Have you heard the term BHAG before? I have, but I never gave it too much thought. That is until I was reminded of it last week at a management training course I attended in Phoenix… and now it’s all I can seem to think about!

A BHAG is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A goal, so big that, even though it is meant to be accomplished over a 3 – 5 year time frame, you are not sure it’s even possible. In the past, I have resisted setting goals greater than 12 months in advance, as I found it hard for me to focus much further out. But I had missed the point of the BHAG. The BHAG’s main job is to stretch your limits, but it also provides your company with a common goal that your whole team can get behind and work towards.

Rules for a Successful BHAG:

Rule number 1:

As the name describes (in three adjectives) this has to be a pretty big goal. The goal, at its core, should be so big that it makes you nervous when you first talk about it… or even think about it! The little voices in your head should say, “Are you sure we can do this? Maybe we should make it a little smaller.” If this is happening, you are likely on the right track.

Rule number 2:

Your BHAG should be something you can complete in 3 – 5 years. If you are a massive company, you could shoot for a decade, but for small business owners, 3 – 5 years is ideal.

Elephant balancing on a tightrope concept for risk, conquering adversity and achievement

Rule number 3:

The BHAG MUST be trackable. A good way to measure your BHAG is to track total sales, number of employees, number of clients, amount of churn… you get the picture.

Rule number 4:

As business owners, your BHAG may read something like “I want to hit 5 million in gross sales by 2017.” This might be motivating for you (most business owners are motivated by money and numbers), but your team probably won’t be inspired solely by money and numbers. It’s hard for team members to rally around the goal of making you rich. For example, our goal is to be the largest newsletter company in the world by mailing more than 1,000,000 newsletters per month. This goal is easier for the team to rally around than a solely monetary goal would be.

Rule number 5:

During your tracking, if you are on pace to reach your mission, it’s fine to have the metrics attached to the mission that is of a monetary nature. For example; you may want to service 800 customers and have 18 million in sales once you hit the goal.

Rule number 6:

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that the reason I never got on the BHAG bandwagon in the past was that 3 – 5 years was just too far out for my brain to have to comprehend. At the time I didn’t think it through… once you have your BHAG, you simply break that up into smaller, annual, manageable chunks.

By getting you and your team on the same page, and moving towards the same goal, you’ll find that even a Big Hairy Audacious Goal can be accomplished.

Do you have a BHAG? Comment below and let us know!

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