What’s Your BHAG? Good to Great: A DLB Consulting Book Study

We’ve been studying what makes a company go from good to great over the last seven weeks. Links to the previous posts on these topics are below for your review. Now it’s time to think about how your company can be built to last by setting your BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.bhag

Good to Great Attributes

Here are the seven things that make a good to great company:

  1. Level 5 Leadership: Leaders with a paradoxical blend of humility and professional will.
  2. First Who…Then What: The principle of hiring the right people before setting the vision and strategy.
  3. Confront the Brutal Facts: The belief that through the difficult times you will prevail in the end so long as you have the discipline to confront reality.
  4. The Hedgehog Concept: The intersection of three circles comprising of what you can be the best in the world at, what you are deeply passionate about, and what makes enough money.
  5. A Culture of Discipline: A culture that combines disciplined people, thought, and action with an ethic of entrepreneurship.
  6. Technology Accelerators: The careful section and pioneering of technology to accelerate growth rather than to ignite a transformation.
  7. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: The process of pursuing success in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.

Developing Your BHAG

This framework is essential to building a great company, but goal setting is key. To develop your BHAG you must consider your Hedgehog. Your BHAG will intersect what you can be the best in the world at, what you are deeply passionate about, and what makes enough money. Stay within those three circles, but be willing to change the specific manifestation of what’s inside them.

Enduring great companies preserve their core ideology. Their purpose and core values stand the test of time. However, in order for progress to be made, it must be stimulated by change. Changes that occur in cultural and operating practices and changes that occur in goals and strategies. Create BHAGs that are consistent with the Good to Great framework and you’ll be on your way toward greatness.

What’s your BHAG?

Setting the Foundation by Developing Vision, Mission, and Goals you started your business you had a dream of what it would look like, where it would take you, and maybe even how it would change the world. This dream was invisible, but powerful. It was instrumental in the fabrication of your business, and you took steps to begin to live out that dream. Is it everything that you hoped it would be, or are there missing pieces that you’d like to put back in place?

Dreams that have clarity are called visions. Successful businesses have written vision statements that explain where the business is going. Visions are fluid and change over time. They provide a sense of aspiration, but can also address the areas that you want to maintain a leadership position in.  They should be shared with employees who should know their role and contributions towards making it a reality.

Mission statements are different than vision statements. The mission statement for your company should address why your company exists. It forces you to decide in advance what you are, and consequently what you’re not about.  It should be short and very clear, and include your company’s:

  • Skills and abilities—what you do
  • Personality traits—how you do it
  • Values, dreams, and passions—why you do it

If you’re having a hard time developing a mission statement, take some time to visit the websites of other companies that you admire.  They will most likely have their mission statement available for you to examine.

Once you’ve written your mission and vision statements, it’s time to develop goals.  Goals are the action steps that make the dream, vision, and mission come alive. They must be written to include the following attributes:

  • Specific—describe exactly what is expected, why it is important, and who’s involved.
  • Measurable—include a quantifiable measurement of what is needed to establish confidence that the goal has been met.
  • Attainable—explain how the goal can be accomplished.
  • Relevant —align the goal with your mission statement.
  • Time-bound—have a due date.

After your goals are written, you’ll need to take steps each day to achieve them. Employees should be able to define how they contribute to each of the goals, and therefore how they link to the success of the company.

Once you’ve recognized your dream, articulated it in a vision, directed it with a mission statement, put it into action with goals, and communicated it, it’s time to go live it.  Successful businesses define and live out these critical elements each and every day.

What steps will you take to live your dream today?