Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

What Is Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)? What Are Some Examples?

Business 23 February 2024 5 Mins Read

During the operation of running a business, a company comes to a point wherein they introduce plans like Big Hairy Audacious Goals. But what is BHAG? It is a framework that helps a business think big think for the long term and take actionable initiatives. If you are interested in learning more about Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), keep reading this article. I have discussed this framework in detail in this article.

BHAG helps a company create visions and plans and implement them across departments. It forces the employees and all the stakeholders to work towards a definitive goal, taking the business forward.

What is Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)?

BHAG aims towards a company-wide transformation in business operations, leading all employees to work toward a shared and definitive vision.

This term originated with Collins and Jerry Porras. The duo wrote a book named “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.” The book first came out in 1994. According to Collin, one of the writers –

“The power of the BHAG is that it gets you out of thinking too small. A great BHAG changes the time frame and simultaneously creates a sense of urgency. ”

It is not easy to come up with a BHAG idea and expect immediate success. It is a well-thought-out plan that requires years of contribution and dedication from people who believe in it. It is not a pipedream of two to three years. In fact, BHAG can take up to a decade or two. Also, the goals should be realistic and should have a minimum chance of 50% achievement.

These goals originate from very much out of the box thought process. For example, a company building spacecraft might aim to build a home on the moon or Mars 10 or 25 years down the line.

Broad Categories Under BHAG

Broad Categories Under BHAG

BHAG can be explained under four broad categories that any business can adopt. Here are those four big categories —

Role Model

A business starts emulating the industry leaders and the tycoons and their features to become successful in that domain. For example, if you are in the Sportswear industry, you may want to become ADIDAS or PUMA. The same goes for other different industries.  When it comes to this type of goal measurement, big companies have gone pretty personal over the decades. For example, this is what Nike’s BHAG looked like

“Crush Adidas.”

The Common Enemy

If your business is already close to the top companies in the industry, then you can be under the common enemy category. This BHAG is all about setting a goal that eventually puts you on top as an industry leader.

Targeting

One of the most common Big Hairy Audacious Goals comes under the targeting category. Under this category, companies aim for a qualitative or a quantitative goal. For example, a company might want to hit the billion-dollar club in terms of their revenue. One of the examples of this would be from Walmart. Their aim was to

“Become a $125 billion company by the year 2000”

Internal Transformation

Businesses also need so many internal transformations as well. So, they can also do it under BHAG. Many of the large companies with intricate systems can go through an entire internal system change. This will help them change the entire process, operations, positioning, and more. One example would be Merck’s BHAG –

Transform this company from a chemical manufacturer into one of the preeminent drug-making companies in the world.”

Big Companies & Their BHAG

Here are a few more examples of big companies and their BHAG.

Facebook

Facebook

First, Mark Zuckerberg had aimed to become the biggest engagement platform for digital connection in 2008. Next, their ambitious goal was to reach 1 billion active users throughout the world. This Big Hairy Audacious Goal turned out to be fruitful for Facebook.

SpaceX

SpaceX

When we talk about out-of-the-box thinking for BHAG, Elon Musk sets the best example. In 2017, he had determined to send people to Mars. This escalated into SpaceX becoming one of the biggest Spacecraft companies. They have succeeded in building reusable rockets improved the safety protocols for the astronauts. SpaceX is also working to run a thorough space exploration program.

Apple

Apple

Apple is an industry leader in the smartphone, laptop, and other gadget industries. Their BHAG was bringing technology close to humans. They have always focused on providing top of the class user experience. They have revolutionized how we use technology nowadays.

Google

Google

“Organize the world’s information.”

Google has set out on a journey to organize the world of data through their algorithm. They are making any type of information easily available through their search engine. They have been breaking down the barriers of technology and languages by making content available in different languages worldwide. They introduced Google Assistant, and BARD very recently – which turned out to be revolutionary for them.

Microsoft

Microsoft

When it comes to Big Hairy Audacious Goals, Microsoft has shown excellence.  their BHAG was to put

“A computer on every desk and in every home.”

In 1995 they started off with Windows 95, and now Microsoft has one of the best operating systems named Windows 11. Their operating system has gone through tremendous changes evolving to the current phase it is at.

How To Create Big Hair Audacious Goals For Your Business?

BHAG is very much associated with the passion of company just as it is related to it feasibility. It cannot be unrealistic, but it must be passionate and make your employees feel spurred to follow it. BHAG is a high ambition, but not an unrealistic one. A company implementing it should reach this goal at a certain point in time (not in two or three years). But, a minimum of 50% of this goal should be achievable.

Here are few parameters that you must ensure while choosing your BHAG–

  • Your BHAG needs to be Compelling & exciting
  • It must be Innovative
  • It should have a ten-year plan at a minimum
  • Action-oriented

Bottom Line

BHAG or A Big Hairy Audacious Goal is also often called a Bee Hag. This type of goals are of great importance to businesses. But they also come with high levels of risks and are bold to some extent.  The concept came into light in 1990s through Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. Hopefully, you have learned what BHAG is.

However, if you have queries about the same, please let us know through the comment section. Thank you for reading.  The concept was developed in the mid-1990s by business school professors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies as a way to stimulate innovation, creativity, and progress within organizations.

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Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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