BHAG Your Ambition

News orgs are newsmakers from their London lairs this week. One new entrant into the rolling cycle pulls up its anchor, as another UK startup tv channel (they still exist) gets freshly emboldened through out-living its rival.

The survivor outlined ambitions to shake-up its sector and become 'the largest player in its chosen space in five years'. Internally branded by its chief executive as their “big hairy audacious goal”.

I hadn't heard this expression for ages. I first came across it a couple o' decades back. Through its labeller, author and corporate researcher, Jim Collins.

Its original book excerpt still on his site. And it's pronounced bee-hag.

You'll read that he "found more evidence of this powerful mechanism in the visionary companies". Gives the famed example of the American presidential speech eschewing something like 'Let's beef up our space program' in favour of the all-time classic, "this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth", and positioning a ʙʜᴀɢ "to be clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort".

There's a decent menu of these kinds of mantras. Indeed, I glanced upon some just the other post. On which I've often down the years run mini workshops with both Sales leaders, chief execs and new product pushers to find one that suits their current aims.

I realised there's something specific about this particular framing. Particularly as I recalled the use of the latter adjective alone in the dark days of the 'rona. Which was not really the same thing. Those preceding pair of missing other adjectives though are vital pointers.

Nowadays, my sense is that there may be a market prominence bias to such BHAGs. Whether outright Number One (or Two) dominance, a specific share snared, or a growth metric. Yet numbers alone never struck me as able to grab the hearts of those involved.

To which end, the 'essence' from concluding steers of the excerpt make for a terrific six-point checklist;

Does it stimulate forward progress?
Does it create momentum?
Does it get people going?
Does it get people's juices flowing?
Do they find it stimulating, exciting, adventurous?
Are they willing to throw their creative talents and human energies into it?

How's yours measure up?

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