Business owners amaze me. You come in all shapes and sizes, each with your own vision and set of priorities to grow your business.
I love spending time with the visionaries, the ones who have enough passion to get everyone in a room excited about what excites them. These leaders have the ability to cast a vision and transfer a passion for reaching that vision.
As a marketer, these are the stories I love to tell, and as a business oner they are the lessons I love to learn.
Successful organizations that are able to achieve significant growth are led by individuals who realize where they need to go, how they’re going to get there, and what resources will be required along the way.
The late Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that “effectiveness lies in balance.” Thus, leaders can’t merely cast vision, assign tasks, or understand both sides of a balance sheet. They must bring all three traits to the table or build a close knit team that covers each of these areas.
In essence, growing a business requires more than merely increasing sales. Sustainable growth isn’t achieved in the bottom line, a healthy bottom line is rather a result of achieving balanced growth. Growth is achieve by laying a groundwork and cultivating a culture that is focused on a measurable goal that is within sight, but just beyond reach.
BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal
People need to know why they’re working everyday. Providing people with an understanding of the company’s guiding vision and earning their buy-in is the recipe for a winning team. Motivating people with salary alone or the threat of loosing their salary only goes so far.
As humans, we have a deeply internal desire to know that our work matters. We want to feel like we’re contributing to a worthy cause that is bigger than ourselves.
This understanding is summed up in a BHAG. A smart BHAG needs to be measurable, actionable, attainable, and rally-able.
Creating a goal that can be measured really spices up the action. It can separate the true winners from the talkers. Some leaders don’t like the feeling of creating a measurable goal because it means they may just have to look failure in the face. Making the goal measurable allows true leaders to prioritize resources, set time tables, and it produces a natural sense of urgency.
A soft and cuddly goal like “deliver best in class support to our customers” sounds great around a board table or in a PR pitch, but it lacks serious traction when the boots hit the ground. An actionable goal defines where the company wants to be and when it wants to be there. This defines the field of play and allows the team leaders to create a game plan with specific strategies that area designed to move the company toward the BHAG.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Aim for the moon and if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” This statement is a load of crap. If you want to get to the moon, don’t settle landing next to a star!
A BHAG should be a goal that you and your team can make happen. A good analogy is that is should be within sight, but just out of reach.
The BHAG is meant to inspire people to emotionally invest and participate in the shared vision. The value must be great enough to be shared across the entire organization and allow everyone to understand how their work contributes to the achieving the goal.
This value of vision is what gets your team to buy into the idea and motivate them to rally together as one unit to achieve something greater than themselves. Just imagine the impact this could have on your company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of three people or an organization of 5,00o. Uniting around a central goal and understanding how each member contributes toward the goal is a game changer.
The BHAG is incredibly important, but it is just the beginning. Realizing a vision must be met with the plan and resources necessary to get there. In my next post I want to work through the power of scalable systems in achieving your BHAG. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your BHAG, please share in the comments below!