Forget Vision and Mission statements. What’s your Big Hairy Ambitious Goal?

Companies with a Big Hairy Ambitious Goal are motivated by the idea of making a difference. They look at unmet needs, under-served populations, and areas for improvement in the marketplace. Then they find opportunities to create something remarkable in that environment.

Compare that with a company that’s asleep on its feet. Because no one is engaged in anything exciting, the best the company can say about itself is painfully captured in a Mission Statement which sounds like any other Mission Statement – clichéd phrases, banal pronouncements, and vague assertions. Is the company living up to a large purpose? It’s hard to tell.

The BHAG building blocks for the road ahead

Organisations with a Big Hairy Ambitious Goal have three fundamental building blocks in place.

1. They are built to make a meaningful difference.
2. They are led by leaders with a sense of purpose who act as stewards of the BHAG.
3. These leaders bring the BHAG to life in meaningful and relevant ways both within the company and out in marketplace.

One, two, three. This is how they achieve the levels of performance experienced by extraordinary companies and organisations.

Find the thrill

What gives your people a long-term sense of purpose? What will inspire them to face up to very real challenges and give them the fortitude to push through the inevitable set-backs?

This thrill may come from anywhere. You may want to revolutionise your industry and grab an opportunity no one else has seen. You may want to delight your customers in a way no one else is doing. You may find a noble cause to serve.

Know thy company. Take stock of your unique strengths. Get in touch with your passions. Listen carefully to what the world is asking you to do.

Have the will

Desire is absolutely essential, but it is not enough. Your business model must enable your company to move steadily towards its Big Hairy Ambitious Goal. Everything must be geared to making a difference.

True BHAG-driven organisations find new ways to think about their business. They love questioning the status quo. They innovate. In the process, they develop products, services or experiences that are innovative in the marketplace.