What is it?
A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) in “Good to Great” is a highly ambitious and inspiring long-term objective that unites and motivates an organization, serving as a powerful catalyst for progress and transformation.
Where does it come from?
The concept of the “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) was popularized by Jim Collins in his book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies,” which he co-authored with Jerry I. Porras. It was later mentioned in Collins’ subsequent book “Good to Great.” The idea behind BHAGs is to set ambitious and visionary long-term goals to drive organizational success and transformation. While the concept itself is not exclusive to Collins, he played a significant role in bringing it to prominence in the world of business and leadership literature.
How does the model work?
The BHAG model works by providing organizations with a bold, inspirational goal that unifies their efforts, guides their actions, and motivates them to achieve transformative results over the long term. It fosters a culture of aspiration, innovation, and continuous improvement.
1. Setting an Ambitious Goal: The first step is to establish a BHAG, which is a highly ambitious, often audacious, and long-term goal that captures the organization’s aspirations. This goal should be clear, specific, and inspiring.
2. Alignment: The BHAG is communicated throughout the organization to align the efforts of all employees and stakeholders. It should resonate with people at all levels and motivate them to work toward the common objective.
3. Focus and Prioritization: The BHAG serves as a focal point, guiding the allocation of resources, time, and energy. It helps the organization prioritize its activities and initiatives, emphasizing those that contribute most directly to achieving the BHAG.
4. Continuous Progress Monitoring: Progress toward the BHAG is monitored regularly, and milestones are established to track advancements. This ensures that the organization remains on course and can make necessary adjustments to its strategies as needed.
5. Motivation and Inspiration: The BHAG inspires and motivates employees by providing a sense of purpose and a compelling reason to strive for excellence. It can boost morale, foster commitment, and create a shared sense of achievement.
6. Long-Term Vision: BHAGs are typically set for a significant timeframe, often 10 to 25 years into the future. This long-term perspective encourages organizations to think beyond short-term gains and focus on sustainable growth and success.
7. Transformation: BHAGs have the potential to drive transformational change within an organization. They challenge the status quo, stimulate innovation, and encourage a culture of continuous improvement.
8. Accountability: Individuals and teams are held accountable for their contributions to the BHAG. Progress toward the goal is a collective responsibility, and everyone plays a part in achieving it.
9. Adaptability: While BHAGs are long-term, they are not set in stone. Organizations must remain adaptable and open to adjusting their strategies as circumstances change or new opportunities arise.
10. Success and Legacy: When an organization successfully achieves its BHAG, it not only realizes its vision but also establishes a lasting legacy of achievement. This can contribute to the organization’s continued growth and success.
In summary, the concept works by setting a highly ambitious and inspiring long-term goal for an organization, aligning its efforts, prioritizing actions, and motivating its members to achieve transformative results while fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.