Victorious Insights For Living: Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Jim Collins, in his book "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies", states that one of the things that separates enduringly great companies from mediocre companies are "BHAG's". This is the acroynm for "Big Hairy Audacious Goals". As stated in the article, " "Set Yourself, Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals", some of the characteristics of a "BHAG" include:

"* BHAG's must be clear and compelling. There must be a clear target, so that everyone will know when it is reached. It has to be energizing and highly focused, so that it requires little or no explanation. People "get it" and it "clicks". For example, Henry Ford set the goal of democratizing the automobile - putting it within reach of the working man and woman.

* BHAG's must take people out of their normal comfort zone. They will thrive on the feeling that theirs is a heroic effort. BHAG's are like scaling a mighty mountain in faith. Only then will they inspire a degree of commitment. Queen Victoria once said, "We are not interested in the possibility of defeat." And neither are those who commit to BHAG's. "

* BHAG's reflect core values and purpose. For instance, Sony's BHAG to become "the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products" was completely consistent with it's core values and purpose as a company: to elevate the nation and culture of Japan.

"When John F. Kennedy made a commitment that the United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, he was setting a risky BHAG. "
Some other examples of famous BHAG's set by companies include:
  • Boeing, which bet its future on the 747 jetliner in the 1960s
  • IBM, which made a similarly sizable gamble on the 360 mainframe computer around the same time
  • Starbucks current BHAG to be the #1 Brand in the world.

These BHAG's were based on what these companies discovered to be their core area of greatness. Their BHAG's where based more on a honest, yet confident UNDERSTANDING of their core greatness, rather then BRAVADO. Their core area of greatness, called a "Hedge Hog Concept", included:

1) what they could be potentially the best in the world at,
2) what they were passionate about, and
3) what drove their economic engine.

A good BHAG rooted in their core area of greatness, would cause them to stretch in their pursuit of greatness.

Finding Your HedgeHog Concept
At a personal level, a "Hedgehog Concept", might be something you were born to do, something that you wake up excited about, and you're getting paid to do it ("you mean I get paid to do this?").

In terms of our own life, the concept of transitioning to your "core area of greatness" or finding you're personal 'Hedgehog Concept' is a big paradigm shift. So many people have settled for "core competence" rather then by faith going after their "core area of greatness". It is similar to "Michael Jordan playing baseball". Michael Jordan was at best "OK" at baseball, but he was the "best of all time" at basketball. Many people today, are living lives in the minor leagues of their "core competency", when they have "big league talent" in the area of their "core greatness".

I believe the Creator has given us all gifts, talents, abilities, and a unique calling. That calling and purpose is where we will find our core greatness. Steve Covey, in his recent book, "The 8th Habit" describes it as discovery your "Voice". As we align Big Hairy Audacious Goals to our area of core greatness, I believe it will positively effect not only our own lives but those around us.

We are all "geniuses at something". By finding your core greatness and then developing BHAG's around it, it not only unleashes your potential, but also inspires those around you to unleash their own. As Nelson Manedla read at his inaguration"

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Inaugural Speech-Nelson Mandela

Three questions you can ask yourself to help find your core greatness are:

  1. What am I deeply passionate about?
  2. What am I are genetically encoded for -- what activities do I feel I was just "made to do"? What activities stir up a sense of destiny in me?
  3. What makes economic sense -- what can I make a living at?

These three questions I believe will help get you on the path of finding your "Core Greatness". As you prayfully consider these questions, take notes and look for patterns and themes. I believe a story will begin to emerge. Certain things that come "naturally" to you and, at times, seem almost easy, for other people are extremely difficult. That's the quiet voice of your gifting speaking to you.

Be Focused, Yet Flexible
As you go through this process, I believe, it's also a good idea to be remain flexible, try out different things and be open to change - as your calling may require a diversity of skills and experiences. In other words, be "focused, yet flexible". Set powerful goals for yourself, but be flexible and enjoy the journey of your life. Like a 3M R & D lab, you may have to "try alot of things and see what works". As the late Edwin Louise Cole said:

"Life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages."

The discovery of one's destiny is a process. Enjoy the journey. For instance, even though Michael Jordan wasn't that great at baseball, I believe it served a purpose of stirring up a hunger in him to comeback to his true passion, basketball..."for the love of the game". :)

Go ahead and think it through (find your core area of greatness) and then follow through (develop personal 'BHAGs') and see what an impact it will make! "Write the vision" and aim high! Break your goals down into smaller components and celebrate as you make progress. Even if you have to take "baby steps", for awhile, take the first step. Enjoy the process and the journey. Life is to fun not to have any fun.

You truly are the best and deserve the best! :)


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Sounds like great advice. I find the comparison of Michael Jordan's baseball to his basketball inspiring.


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