I’ve come across this in different shapes and forms over the years, but was recently reminded of it in Max Landsberg’s Mastering Coaching and remembered how exciting, motivating and energising having a really big goal is. What is a BHAG you ask? It’s a stretching goal that is so ambitious that it appears to you at least, audacious. If you accomplished half of it, you would consider it a worthwhile achievement. The very ambition of it, is so exciting, it’s motivating to you and draws on your passions, expertise and is sustainable.
To uncover your BHAG there’s 3 areas to focus on:
You need to first understand what it is you, or your organisation, are truly passionate about. For individuals, think historically, back to childhood hobbies, enlist the help of your friends and family. Take a cross-section of your life, at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and beyond, what did you do in your down-time? What could you talk about endlessly? What matters to you in the world? Question yourself and analyse until you get to the root of what you are passionate about.
Next, identify what it is you, or your organisation, can do better than anyone else. What can you, or your organisation, be world class at? What are your core strengths? Use this basic strengths test as a starting point to get you thinking.
Most people are too humble to really engage with this question, but I challenge you to. Ask your partner, friends, colleagues, family, go back over your work performance reviews, think about what people tend to ask for your help on and collate the answers. Be objective and look at yourself from a distance, everyone has something they can do exceptionally well, and so do you! It may not be as obvious as you’d like, or it may be strengths you haven’t developed yet. Make it your priority to find out what that is.
And last, where you, or your organisation, are good at generating revenue. This is pretty straight-forward. How can you sustain yourself, for most people this means income to live on, working for yourself or for someone else, it can also mean engagement with work, developing a social or professional network that will be a source of long-term sustenance.
4. YOUR BHAG
Your BHAG lies where these three circles overlap. This step takes reflection and contemplation of all three of the above to really draw out what your big, hairy, audacious goal could be. I would say brainstorm, come up with lots of ideas and just work your way.
BHAG forms the centre of what’s know in management training circles as the Hedgehog Concept. The term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
. Why the humble hedgehog? Because the hedgehog focuses on one thing and does one thing exceedingly well! Tons of research shows that behaving more hedgehog style, results in bigger, better success for individuals and businesses!