Jim Collins and his team discovered that Level 5 leaders, Good to Great and Built to Last organizations shared one concept. They create big, hairy, audacious goals. Collins shortened the term to BHAG.
Collins provides a an insight with a diagnostic tool. He said “Great companies have a purpose—a reason for being—that goes far beyond just making money, and they translate this purpose into BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) to stimulate progress.”
Collins writes “To build a visionary company, you need to counterbalance its fixed core ideology with a relentless drive for progress. While core ideology provides continuity, stability, and cohesion, the drive for progress promotes change, improvement, innovation, and renewal.
One way to bring that drive for progress to life is through BHAGs (short for Big Hairy Audacious Goals). With his very first dime store in 1945, Sam Walton set the BHAG to “make my little Newport store the best, most profitable in Arkansas within five years.” As the company grew, Walton set BHAG after BHAG, including the still-in-place goal to become a $125-billion company by the year 2000. The point is not to find the “right” BHAGs but to create BHAGs so clear, compelling, and imaginative that they fuel progress. ”
I work for an organization with a Level 5 Leader that set not one, but six, BHAG’s. While he is no longer the CEO, the organization continues moving on the BHAGs. His vision and challenge continue to inspire the organization to move to greatness.
Big Hairy Audacious Goals generate feelings of excitement and purpose. They enhance your dedication to your work. Look for companies and leaders that set them.