People who have big, hairy, audacious goals are inspiring. They can see well into the future and are able to create compelling, long-term goals that inspire action. When you look at a big, hair, audacious goal, you want to know what impact it will have on society 20 years from now.
Big, hairy, audacious goals are compelling, long-term goals that inspire employees to take action. They are meant to energize people to implement big picture plans that could take a long time to complete.
30 Years and $10 Billion
Look at the James Webb telescope. Grand in scope and tremendous in vision, this piece of technological marvel took well over 30 years and $10 billion to develop. It is now heralded as one of the grand scientific endeavors of the 21st century.
Now, that’s a BHAG of epic proportions. To think, there are professionals who worked on the project who were not employed when the telescope made its maiden voyage. As of this writing, we are still awaiting images that will peer back 13.5 billion years. A BHAG, indeed.
Steve Job’s BHAG
Steve Jobs was giving a talk to his team. He told them about a study he found in Scientific America where they discovered the fastest and most energy-efficient animal was the condor. Condors are able to use their wingspan and adjust accordingly to make the most efficient use of wind currents. He then used this study of condors and compared it to a person on a bicycle.
He discovered that a person on a bicycle could generate more energy than a condor. The bicycle allowed the human to travel much faster and much farther than condors all while using significantly less energy. Technology made this possible. How else could technology be used to amplify and empower human ability?
Steve Jobs was a computer expert, not a bicycle guy. And, what he knew about computers is that they were so complex, untrained people really couldn’t access them. But, computers were great.
They had such potential to expand human ingenuity and accomplishment, yet, only a small number of people could really understand them enough to use them. This is the impulse that seeded Jobs’s big, hairy audacious goal to make computers available to everyone.
A Steep Learning Curve
The challenge with technology is learning curves. That is a bit of a foreign concept today since most of us live in a hyperconnected world where everyone we know has a computer either as a phone, tablet, laptop, or other device.
Computers are a ubiquitous experience in our world but it wasn’t always this way. They used to be large, complex machines that required a subset of expertise to understand them.
Steve Jobs made a big, hair audacious goal to eliminate the problem of pre-education needed to use the device. Fast forward several years later and now my 2-year-old son can turn on Paw Patrol.
3 Important Questions to Ask
Big, hair audacious goals are inspiring goals. These aren’t your typical quantitative goals you may see in department meetings. These goals address important questions like,
Why are we setting this goal?
How is it going to create abundance?
What can we do to simplify complexity?
If I can’t, as the leader of an organization, create a big, hairy, audacious goal, why do I expect anybody on my team to want to be at my organization? We don’t know where we’re going.
The entire point of a BHAG is creating something that doesn’t exist or fails to exist at its fullest potential. But, in order to do it, you first have to establish why it needs to be created in the first place.
The why is the foundation for the what. Your WHY has to be compelling enough to motivate your team to join you through the hills and valleys you’ll inevitably encounter.
Fundamentally, a BHAG is a goal. There is no spend endless hours and emails wordsmithing the details into a “mission statement.” The BHAG itself is the destination.
Everyone will know what the destination is; however, your job as the leader is to motivate them with the why.
President Kennedy offered little more guidance for the NASA mission to the moon other than committing to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back to earth before the end of the decade.
That was it.
There was no other grand standing or need for follow-up press conferences. The United States was going to the moon…we just had to get there. This was as audacious as it gets.
A BHAG must have value. One of the ways you’ll create value is through a goal that generates abundance for others.
Steve Jobs’ vision was set on making technology so accessible a 3-year-old could pick up any of his devices and immediately use it. He created abundance in a market that previously had none.
One way to enhance your goal is to think of what you can offer that will create abundance for others. Consider something that you offer that will enhance lives.
Your creation goes beyond leaders at the helm and instead focuses highly on the process and subsequent product. In fact, you may experience multiple iterations of business before the goal is seen.
Leaders will come and go.
Your output may change in quantity or quality but the goal remains and that should be to enhance others’ lives. You’ll not go wrong focusing outward on what you can offer to help everyone else.
Simplify the Complex
Setting large goals actually helps you clarify your position.
–>If you know where you’re going in 20 years, it is easier to plot out what steps you need to take. You can then sit down and write out a plan on what you want to accomplish in the next 5 years.
–>If you don’t have that data, you can create a one-year goal and break those down into quarterly goals.
Once momentum starts, that inertia generates more movement toward that goal. If you go against it or refuse to start, you’re not sowing in the right direction.
By creating small goals, you’ll also have better forecast project creep and modify the process to put the project back between the lines.
This part of the process is the quantitative data you’ll need to succeed. The timelines, goals, and milestones you set here will predict the what, how and when your BHAG succeeds.
The Growability Big, Hair Audacious Goal (BHAG)
Our big, hairy audacious goal at Growability is to see thousands of leadership coaches located throughout the world, equipping leaders to cultivate vision, rhythm and community.
By 2040, we want to operate in a hundred cities globally and have served a hundred thousand leaders.
If you impact a hundred thousand leaders by helping those leaders cultivate vision, rhythm and community, you’re going to impact millions upon millions of lives.
There is thousands of relief programs and cities and teams, and so many people are going to be impacted if we impact a hundred thousand leaders. So that’s a big, hairy, audacious goal.
The Growability Difference
If you want help defining and reaching big, hairy, audacious goals, reach out to us. Speak with a Growability coach on how you can raise the bar for your organization and forecast amazing things into the future.