Bold Goal —
Does it matter whether whether we have a bold goal? That what we’re trying to do is ambitious? Absolutely! The superpower of a bold goal is its ability to focus and align thoughts and actions over time. Without a bold goal, even good organizations with talented leaders and staff are doomed to wander in the land of mediocrity. They may be doing good work but a great opportunity is lost. Having an audacious goal doesn’t mean you’ll know how you’ll reach it. It’s a statement of intent, an organizing point. Everyone is focused, asking, “How do I help us get there? What must we do next?”
John Doerr: Why the secret to success is setting the right goals. 12 min.
How the Appalachian Trail began. 7 min.
What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal by Safaraz Ali. 2 min.
The Power of Bold Goals
Even if the scope of your bold goal isn’t global, it will likely contribute to other greater goals. Citizens in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recently set a world record of planting almost fifty million trees in twenty-four hours. This effort was part of India’s larger goal of increasing its forested land from 192 million acres to 235 million acres by 2030. And that goal is one more step toward an even greater goal of restoring more than 800 million acres of forests worldwide. A number of groups are now calling for the planting of one trillion trees (there are about three trillion trees on earth today). This could be nested in an even larger goal of fighting climate change, and so on. It’s all part of the ultimate Big Hairy Audacious Goal of saving humanity’s ability to live on the planet—as soon as possible!
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
The term “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) was coined by business scholars Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in “Built to Last.” A BHAG is a long-term, audacious, and often ambitious goal that a company or organization sets for itself.
It’s also a strategic tool that helps organizations focus on achieving something truly remarkable, something that may seem impossible at first, but is achievable with dedication and hard work. It is usually a clear and compelling vision of where the organization wants to be in the future, typically 10 to 30 years down the road.
A BHAG should meet four criteria:
- It should be “Big” – something that inspires and excites the organization and stakeholders, and that is beyond the realm of what is currently achievable.
- It should be “Hairy” – something that is challenging and difficult to achieve, but still feasible.
- It should be “Audacious” – something that is bold, courageous, and daring.
- It should be a “Goal” – something that is specific, measurable, and time-bound, with clear targets and milestones to track progress.
Examples of BHAGs include:
- “Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”
- The Child Survival Campaign’s goal to reduce the number of child deaths worldwide in half
- Half Earth’s goal of setting aside half the world’s land and sea for nature
Overall, a BHAG is a powerful tool for organizations to articulate a compelling vision for the future, motivate staff and stakeholders, and drive progress towards ambitious long-term goals.
New Book from Tom Peterson