"Patrick, can you please help me with our BHAG and get it done in our annual planning session?” I get this request frequently. The answer is “Maybe, it depends on how well prepared you are for our session and how much you have been thinking and working on your BHAG already."
BHAG is a term created by Jim Collins; it stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal and is part of Jim Collins’ vision framework. It is your long term goal, typically between ten and thirty years. It is meant to stretch you to new heights of achievement. Along the way, you can’t help but pick up new skills and competencies, making you a strong and better company. The BHAG becomes your north star, your guiding long term goal. Used correctly and in a practical fashion, your BHAG will help you to make “Yes” and “No” decisions. Say yes to projects that drive you towards your BHAG and no to projects and opportunities that take you on a detour.
Your BHAG is not meant to be a poster on the wall. It is meant to be your strategic guide along your journey of building your company.
You are not going to just come together in a meeting and have your BHAG magically pop out. Our clients who have successfully developed BHAGs that guide their strategy and execution do it by getting into a Think Rhythm™ to meet and discuss their BHAG. They discuss this weekly for about an hour. It does not have to be a formal meeting. It can also be a lunch meeting weekly where you discuss what your BHAG should be.
Here are some questions to help you at your weekly think meeting as you work on developing your BHAG:
- What 10+ year goal will help to fulfill our purpose?
- What are our strengths? What are we really good at that people will love to pay us for? Can this possibly be further developed so that we become untouchable?
- What is our financial model? What is our Profit/X? How do we want to make money at this company?
- Who is our core customer or primary customer, and how can we become even more valuable to them? How do we become irreplaceable?
The BHAG is a big question. Take your time to discuss it weekly. Use these questions as brain-starters or discussion starters.
So… what is the best BHAG in the world? It is the one that propels you and your team to great and exciting heights. It directs you and it makes you stronger and better. It’s the one that drives your execution, drives your priorities, drives you saying “No” to many good projects so that you can stay focused on the great projects. Every company is unique, so expect your BHAG to be unique.