Once you have done the hard work to determine the right Big Hairy Audacious Goal for your company over the next 10-25 years, now you get to reap the benefits of having your strategic direction set. In order to use your BHAG to grow with purpose, you need to bring it to life in your organization.
How Do you Know If Your BHAG Is Alive?
Try the Hallway Test. If you walk down the hall in your office and pick a random person who works in your company, can that person recite your BHAG? Go ahead, try it.
If you get blank stares or anything other than the answer you’re looking for, then you know you have some more work to do in communicating and helping your team connect emotionally to this long-term goal.
Here are 5 Ways to Bring Your BHAG to Life:
- Keep it Top of Mind for Your Team: You can display this somewhere in your organization so that your employees will be reminded of it; in Rhythm, this is one of the strategic elements that displays on your sidebar so that it is top of mind when you’re in your Annual Planning Session. But, your BHAG is much more than a poster on your wall or a reminder that you see in Rhythm.
- Tell the Story of Your BHAG: The real value is not to have your employees spit back something they memorized; the value is having them connect with this long-term goal emotionally and coaching them to let it to guide their actions. To that end, be intentional about how you communicate your BHAG to the company for the first time. When you roll it out, be sure to tell the story of your BHAG, paint the picture of your vision for the company in 10-25 years, and include the emotional impact for those involved. Storytelling is a powerful tool for memory and emotional connection, so make sure you don’t skip this step. Write the story down or even make a video so you can share the story of your BHAG with new employees, too.
- Connect Strategy & Everyday Execution: Use your BHAG in your Annual Planning session every year. Set 3-5 year Winning Moves that are similar to base camps on the way to your Mt. Everest goal. You should be able to map how your 3-5 year and annual plans are getting you one step closer to achieving this long-term goal. In Rhythm, we have a Strategy Connector that lets you see the connection from your 3-5 year plan all the way down into Action Items that you’re working on daily so you never lose sight of how you are working toward this goal.
- Evaluate Opportunities with Your BHAG: When opportunities present themselves, look at them through the lens of you BHAG. Always ask, “Does this get us closer to the BHAG?” If the answer is no, then take a hard look at why you are even considering this opportunity. Your BHAG gives you focus so you can say Yes to the right opportunities and No to the ones that will distract you.
- Tap the Creative Genius of Your Team: You should have a due date for your BHAG, and if it is truly audacious, you shouldn’t be sure how you’re going to achieve it by that date when you set it. But, as the BHAG due date approaches, get everyone in the company involved in brainstorming how you can get there and in testing these ideas. Let your BHAG help you tap into the innovation and creativity in your team by hearing different ideas and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.
If you have other great ideas for sharing your BHAG with your team, keeping it top of mind, and using it to help your company grow with purpose, please share those with us in the comments section below.
Looking for some more information on BHAG to help get you started? Check out our additional resources:
Editor's note: This blog was originally published on Feb. 2, 2015, and has been updated.