Nexecute’s Take on BHAGs

It’s no secret we enjoy learning at Nexecute. When it comes to knowledge, we’re human sponges—in classrooms, in boardrooms, and in books.

We’re perpetually reading and recommending literature to improve professional acumen. In the business world, there are a handful of titles—and authors—you’ll hear again and again. Jim Collins is one of those authors. He wrote “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” in 2001. It’s one of our favorites. His most-often cited concept is the BHAG, or “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.”


BHAG-ing With Nexecute

Like Jim, we love goals—especially big, hairy, and audacious ones. But we have a few thoughts on how to best make BHAGs work better for you. We’ve implemented BHAGs for our clients as well as ourselves for years. In a leadership position, it can seem easy to knock things off a checklist and think “done!” However, to be successful the process is much more nuanced than that.


BHAGs: What NOT to Do

When your organization is implementing its own BHAG, keep an eye out for these five common errors.     

  1. Your BHAG Is Not Really A Goal. Because of the “bigness,” it’s common to identify a vision instead of a BHAG accidentally. Statements such as “We want to be the largest company” aren’t a goal. When there’s no clear finish line, how will you know when you accomplish it? If you can’t achieve it, how is it a goal? After all, the goal is what the G stands for—make sure yours is.
  2. Making Your BHAG Is Impossible to Attain. Beware of taking the “hairy and audacious” concept too far. Have a brainstorming session and get your hairiest and most audacious stuff out there. But then, it’s time to edit. Be truthful about your market, product, and ability limitations. If it’s not attainable, you’re setting your team up for failure.
  3. Ignoring Your Organization’s BHAG. Some organizations feel like they don’t need a BHAG. They point to their financial targets instead. Or, in short-sightedness, they only operate on short-term projects or immediate customer needs. Without some big-picture ambition, an organization won’t reach its full potential. Remember, “Mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.” Get inspired, dream big, set a BHAG and run towards it.
  4. Constantly Adjusting Your BHAG. Don’t change your BHAG! The inclination to do so will always be there. Organizations are tempted to for many reasons. Maybe they didn’t achieve their goal and want to alter it to feel better. Or, they didn’t stick with a plan and are having remorse. But BHAGs are not meant to be adjusted. The built-in bigness and audacity mean every step makes you that much better. Your BHAG is the defining future point that you should pursue. It’s a journey as well as a destination.
  5. NOT Making Your BHAG A Priority. When you have a BHAG, it’s essential to have discipline. Consistently meeting short-term goals is the key to reaching your long-term BHAG. The first step is establishing a BHAG—and that can be hard work itself! But setting it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. It needs to be looked at, referred to, and talked about weekly, if not daily. Everything should align with the BHAG: internal messages and conversations, yearly and quarterly metrics, and employee accountability and achievements.


Reach Your BHAGs With Nexecute

What to chat more about BHAGs and other strategies to increase your profits? Give us a call at 888.378.8808. We’ve learned from books like Collins’, but you’ll benefit even more from our decades of corporate experience. The Results Optimizer™ is a rigorous, five-step process that will shift your organization’s culture, create smarter systems, and forge lasting success. Sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, or contact us online. We’ve helped many organizations define their goals, optimize their teams, and, ultimately, become more profitable.