Is It Time for a New BHAG?

By Tiffany Chepul

dateSun, Jan 11, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

It's Big. It's Hairy. It's Audacious. But, do you need a new one?Strategy_BHAG

Your 10-25 year goal, or BHAG, might be in need of an update.  Here are some tell-tale signs.

You absolutely need a new BHAG if:

  1. You've achieved it.  Congratulations!  Celebrate!  But, don't get complacent and miss the opportunity to set the next BHAG right away. Keep the team excited and momentum heading in the right direction.
  2. It isn't measurable.  If your current BHAG isn't specific enough so that you'll know when you've achieved it, you need a new one. Avoid the hamster wheel.
  3. It doesn't inspire anyone.  This one's tricky.  As CEO, you might be over the moon about your BHAG.  However, if the rest of the organization isn't with you, you're fighting a losing battle.  A good example of this is one that is simply a revenue goal.  Being a $500M company might get you pumped, but the regular salaried employee needs something that speaks to both the head and the heart.  A number alone won't inspire.
  4. You aren't using it to guide decision-making.  If the team isn't constantly testing ideas against your BHAG, you need a new one.  Should we make this acquisition?  Should we launch this new product?  If you're not considering whether or not these choices will move you closer to achieving your BHAG, you probably don't have the right one.
  5. No one knows it.  Step out into the hallway and ask the first person you see.  If they don't know what the BHAG is, consider it a failure of your BHAG, not of your hapless victim.  See #3.
  6. Your Core Purpose changes.  It's rare, but it does happen.  If the very Core Purpose of your business changes, you probably need a new BHAG.  It’s quite likely that your old one no longer applies.
  7. Your numbers don't line up.  If you set your BHAG as achieving 1000 recurring customers and your WHO is only the Fortune 500, you've got a math problem.  Fix it and show your work.

There are some gray areas where you might need a new BHAG.  It doesn't always hold true, but consider these examples:

  1.  Your Core Customer changes.  Motts thought they were selling apple juice to people who like apple juice.  When they figured out they were really selling to moms who want a healthy juice option, this changed the game.  And possibly their BHAG.
  2. Your Best in the World changes.  Zappos thought they were good at selling shoes.  They found out what they were really best at was customer service.  Depending on what they were using as their BHAG, this might have changed their perspective.
  3. Your Financial Driver (Profit/X) changes.  Walgreens thought their financial driver was profit per store.  When they figured out it was profit per customer visit, it could have impacted their BHAG.

So, how does your BHAG stack up?  Time for an upgrade? If so, download our BHAG Guide and take a fresh look at it.


Free Guide:
3 Steps to Create Your BHAG

Tiffany Chepul


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images