Last month, as well as a brief introduction to the management practices that really work, I covered Core Purpose, one of three elements of a good vision. This month, I’ll cover off another vision element, the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (or BHAG). The remaining vision element, Core Values, will be covered later on in a series on culture.
The BHAG, normally pronounced “Bee Hag”, is a huge, very challenging goal, designed to stimulate progress. If your Core Purpose is the “why,” your BHAG is the “what.” It should be:
Perhaps the most quoted BHAG is J F Kennedy’s challenge to NASA in 1961, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” Brilliant. Clear and compelling. Certainly beyond their capabilities (especially the bit about returning him safely to earth, hence a distinct lack of volunteers). Nearly 10 years out, and it definitely stimulated progress at NASA, because they achieved it in 1969.
Other cool BHAGs:
“How do I find my BHAG?” you might ask. Jim Collins, the co-author of last month’s book Built to Last, followed up with a solo effort Good to Great. According to Collins, one of the characteristics of great companies is that they all boil everything down into one idea – land on the moon, predator-free, car safety.
When you deeply understand these circles and find your single organising concept at their intersection, your BHAG will be somewhere nearby.
In the next issue of the Beacon I’ll start looking at some key elements of strategy, which is the art of making a cohesive set of decisions that enable you to achieve your BHAG.
Let's Talk Business
by Chris Bunce
Chris has 28 years’ experience as a management consultant and business coach. During this time he has worked with clients in many industries and of all shapes and sizes, including some in Australia, Asia and the US. Nowadays he is passionate about improving the lives of Aucklanders by helping business owners to master the very few management practices that actually make a difference to their success. Chris lives in Blockhouse Bay with his wife, Cathie, having lived in or around the area for most of his life.