The Power of the BHAG

Leadership

We all want compelling work environments in which we ignite imaginations throughout the company and motivate people to achieve new levels of teamwork and productivity, but for many of us, this ideal feels out of reach. In their now classic management bestseller, Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras discuss the characteristics that accomplish this goal as they explored what factors contributed to certain companies dominating their industry and outlasting their competition. Among these factors is the power of the big hairy audacious goal (BHAG).

Hard work alone won’t provide the necessary spark; neither will one-dimensional rewards, such as performance pay, if not integrated into a more comprehensive goal. Goals are different from vision and mission in the sense they’re specific, measurable, and time-bound. BHAGs differ from common goals in that they’re big enough to transcend individual leaders and daunting enough to challenge team members to unimagined accomplishments.

There are four essential characteristics of every audacious goal.

Clear and Compelling. BHAGs should require little or no explanation. For example, President John F. Kennedy famously declared in 1961 that the U.S. would put a man on the moon by 1970. While there may have been confusion around how to meet the goal, the desired outcome was clear. It also captured the imagination of people, bringing energy to accomplish the mission. When creating a BHAG, our objective is the same. If our goal doesn’t get people energized and enthralled, then it isn’t a BHAG.

Uncomfortable. These goals should be foreign to our natural comfort zone. Our team should have reason to believe they can pull it off but not without sustained heroic effort, committed teamwork, and God’s blessing. The only way long-term, uncomfortable goals will help create the ideal work environment is if the goal is compelling. When our goals aren’t powerful enough, our teams won’t be willing to go outside their comfort zone to reach them.

Bold and Exciting. For a BHAG to be effective, the excitement has to be about the goal, not the goal-setter. BHAGs should be so bold and exciting in their own right that they withstand leadership turnover. When done right, it will continue to stimulate progress even if the firm’s key leader departs before achieving the goal.

Aligned. If your goal isn’t consistent with your company’s core ideology (e.g., vision, mission, core values, and ministry objectives), then it’s not worth pursuing. Even if the goal seems to meet the other characteristics, ultimately it won’t have longevity. Eventually, it will undercut your core ideology rather than use the ideology to rally the team around an important goal.

Do you have a BHAG? Does it meet these characteristics? Download our FREE BHAG worksheet to develop a new goal that your team and company can rally around!

 

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  • Kevin Miller Bio

    With over a decade of experience in marketing leadership, brand management, and business development, Kevin has helped numerous companies refine and implement plans to create exponential growth.

    Prior to joining C12, Kevin led a successful Florida-based brand strategy consulting business focused on growing small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurial in spirit, Kevin also has a diverse background in launching start-ups as well as helping struggling or stagnant businesses develop a new course of action. His experience incorporates knowledge from multiple industries including textile manufacturing and design, medicine, real estate, technology, web development, and the creative arts.

    After attending the University of Central Florida where he studied Music Performance, Kevin became involved in worship arts and youth ministries, serving for several years in various leadership roles. He and his wife Beth, an elementary school administrator, have been married since 2000. Together with two sons Kyle and Kamden, they enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities including hiking, hunting, fishing, and backpacking.

  • Troy Blackmon Bio

    Troy came to The C12 Group in 2008, with a diverse background in executive leadership, sales development, team building, and operations. Through his role as VP of Field Operations, he is committed to serve, equip and encourage CEOs and business owners to lead thriving companies that honor the Lord and serve people.

    During his tenure at Chick-fil-A, Inc. Troy learned that business excellence and glorifying God in the marketplace go hand in hand. Troy managed a P&L of $35+ million in revenue and coached business owners in operational excellence and improving financial results.

    In addition, Troy has been involved in leading small group ministry, including planting a church in Seattle, WA. Troy was formerly Partner at OneAccord, a management-consulting firm focused on accelerating revenue for mid-market companies. While at OneAccord, Troy was privileged to work with numerous technology companies in senior leadership positions, managing sales, marketing, and business development activities. Troy most recently served as the President of a technology private equity group, where he led the management teams of 4 portfolio businesses.

    Troy is married to his high school sweetheart, Shanna, and has been blessed with 4 children. He enjoys golf, cycling, and mountain biking with his family.

  • Mike Sharrow Bio

    Mike joined C12 as a member in 2010 while serving as an executive pastor for a large church in Texas and owner of a healthcare strategy consulting group.  Prior to that, he had served in a variety of leadership roles in both operations and sales corporately for the Walgreen Company, financial services as well as strategic development work with Health by Design.  In 2011 he exited his commitments to join the local C12 practice in San Antonio as an associate chair serving CEOs across that market.  In 2013 he and a partner acquired the greater Central Texas region and stewarded it as it grew to a team of 8 full-time chairmen serving nearly 150 leaders.  Mike is passionate about collaboration, strategic planning, Gospel initiatives and BHAG endeavors.

    With a background spanning Fortune 50 corporate settings, startups, non-profit and local church, Mike has been discipled into an integrated life perspective around the calling all believers share to be disciple-making disciples and ambassadors of Christ across all vocations and contexts.  It was in 2005 when God revealed to Mike the perils of a “sacred versus secular” duality in life and since then he’s been on the adventure of living one life in Christ, with work as worship, business as ministry and life as mission.

    Mike grew up in Alaska, graduated from Trinity International University and the Loyola Graduate School of Business.  He married his bijou of an Iowa farmers daughter, Jacqui, in 2002 and they have 2 girls, Elayna and Sophia.