There comes a time when we have to stop saying and start doing. Without having a clear set of goals each individual usually will end up procrastinating about what needs to be done rather than focusing on getting things done. This happens all the time, you know you’ve done it. I’m going to do “that” and then when “that” needs to be done you find another thing to do.

Setting goals and working to them is one of the most talked about subjects in organisations across the world. Most people can write a S.M.A.R.T goal, ensuring that they are time bound is key to the success, it helps to stop the procrastination.

In my experience working with teams, managers and leaders in businesses the bigger the better. In fact the bigger and more public they are the better. The more feedback you can get on the progress of goals achievement helps to support moving forward and makes you do “that” rather than just saying you are doing “that”.

More often goals are tactical, like a sales person having a goal to increase revenue or a manager having a goal to increase work outputs from the team.

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

The term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visonary Companies. (1994). It is a strategic vision statement that sets out the biggest and best thing an organization want’s to achieve. Many businesses set goals that are audacious and stand out and help people engage with them.

Some notable examples you may have seen:

  • Google: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home

What if you were to take this a step back from an organisational goal and create a BHAG for you, and your goals moving forward.

A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

—Collins and Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visonary Companies. (1994).

So, step out, create the biggest hairiest most audacious goal you can, then go public. Tell everyone and ask people what they think.

It doesn’t stop there, get regular feedback from everyone about how you are doing on goal achievement. Remember the bigger and more public the better.