A North Star Can Motivate Your Employees to Go The Extra Mile

How do you create a culture in your company where people enjoy the work they do and look forward to the week ahead? On this Looking Forward to Monday Minute we are going to explore the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), a clear and compelling target for your business to strive toward. 

On last week’s Looking Forward to Monday Minute, I discussed the importance of having a Core Purpose for your business. Core Purpose and BHAG are distinctly different. Core Purpose is the “WHY” of your business. Core Purpose is the reason your business exists. This will likely never change. Your BHAG is a companywide strategic goal that is meant to excite and rally your team.

Pronounced “bee-hag”, the term was coined in the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, a book I highly recommend you read. BHAGs are meant to energize the entire company, something that annual goals and quarterly KPIs have a hard time doing.

I first learned about the BHAG concept in 2013 after reading Built to Last. I decided to try it. On January 1, 2014, I introduced Advantage’s first BHAG, “Road to 1000.” Our goal by December 31, 2018 (5 years) was to actively serve 1,000 Members. At the time we were actively serving 100. Our 5-year BHAG target was to 10X our business. When I introduced the BHAG, I got many blank stares. There were many in the company who thought it was impossible. There were believers too, and many are still with the company today. AND, we accomplished our BHAG. By December 31, 2018 we were actively serving 3,500+ Members and we had grown our revenue by more than 10X in that 5 year period of time.

Having accomplished our first, we introduced our 2nd BHAG on January 1, 2019. In the “Road to 100,000,” our goal is to actively serve 100,000 Members and Subscribers by December 31, 2023. When we accomplish this, our company will have grown financially by another 5X. 

When you walk through our company, in-person and virtually, you will see references to our BHAG in lots of places. It is on the physical walls of our office. It is on digital documents and in strategic plans. It is directly tied to our KPIs, quarterly and annual targets. To make your BHAG come alive, I believe you need to celebrate it and talk about it frequently.

Two additional words about the BHAG. First, many companies build a BHAG with no specific time target. Personally, I like drawing a line in the sand, and marking that line not too distant in the future. Our Road to 1,000 BHAG was for 5 years, culminating on December 31, 2018. Our current Road to 100K BHAG is also for 5 years and culminates on December 31, 2023. I personally like 5 years because it is enough time to achieve something significant, but not so far down the road that most people wouldn’t be around to see it actually achieved. Second, I highly recommend your BHAG not be centered around achieving a financial target. By serving 1,000 or 100,000 customers, we can roughly approximate the size our company will have to be, which represents growth, which is of course a good thing. That said, our BHAG is centered around serving customers, which ties directly to our Core Purpose.

More about the BHAG on Jim Collins blog and a nice technical summary from Investopedia.

Having a compelling, exciting, and articulated BHAG will attract higher quality talent that won’t be tempted to job jump when a slightly better offer comes along. Having a team that is bought into and aligned with your BHAG is a secret of the highest performing businesses around the world. When people are excited about the direction the business is headed, they Look Forward to Monday!

If you want to learn how to create a Looking Forward to Monday culture in your business, I’ve created a Free 2.5 Hour Video Seminar To Teach You How To Do It Too!  Get Instant Access Now!