You May Fall Off the Mountain: Keep Climbing to Reach Your BHAG

By Liz McBride

dateSun, Dec 27, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Our inaugural Breakthrough Execution Conference is in the BHAG, I mean bag! I am still on a high from theiStock_000053073110_Medium.jpg excitement, teamwork and the “ah-ha” moments. The breakout session I lead was on How to Create a Useful BHAG to Improve Performance, and one of the new clients to our Rhythm family was there. She later said:

“I had an epiphany when you said the climb up the mountain to reach your BHAG can be a hard one. Winning moves are your 3-5 year base camps to reach the 10+ year summit and there are times when you may stumble or even fall off the mountain. In the past, I have fallen off the mountain.”

We reviewed the two ways to get to your BHAG:

  1. Dream - You have an internal dream. You wake up one day, as I imagine Elon Musk did, and say “I want to save the Earth’s carbon footprint and colonize Mars!” Well, fantastic! Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City are all aligned with his dream.
  2. Structured - You take a structural approach. You determine why you do what you do, how you can be darn good at it and how you want to make money. You place those inputs in your Think Rhythm and formulate your BHAG.

It’s not uncommon to work with clients who have inherited the company. Perhaps they are second or third generation owners. This is the case with our new client as well. What if her dream or Core Purpose wasn’t the same as her father’s?  Or, what if future Musks don’t want to go to Mars? It could happen. When it does, use the structured approach to validate the type of company you have against your dream. 

She looked at the structural approach and thought about the Core Purpose. She realized she gets out of bed everyday and comes into work is for the same reasons as the generation before her. The "what they can be the best at" and subsequent "profit/x," however, has changed due to external factors. This could be why they couldn’t make it to the first base camp.

They will adjust their BHAG and begin the climb back up the mountain. Once the BHAG is in place, they will take their BHAG to work and:

    • Tell the story of how the BHAG came to be and be sure to include how she was inspired by her family’s story and continues to carry on in their footsteps today. Just with a twist.
    • Keep it top of mind for everyone through Rhythm and other creative ideas: posters, video contests, onboarding, reminders at all planning sessions, etc.
    • Use it at work by making decisions based on whether or not opportunities that come their way will help them reach their BHAG.
    • Tap into the creative minds of their team to create the Winning Moves and then how to best execute. You’ve hired, give them some climbing gear and put them to work!
    • Connect it to everyday strategy by aligning annual key initiatives and quarterly priorities to the BHAG.

If you’ve fallen off the mountain, it is OK. Getting to your BHAG is tough stuff. If it wasn’t, it would be a 3-year hill rather than a 10+ year mountain. Collect your gear, use the structured approach as your compass and climb back up. You need to get your team to climb with you, so make sure they are taking the BHAG to work.

Best of luck on your climb. Pack a lot of snacks.

Free Guide:
3 Steps to Create Your BHAG

Liz McBride


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images