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February 03, 2009

Do You Have Your BHAG for 2009?

Do you have your BHAG for the year?!  The recent inauguration of US President Obama put me mind mind of BHAGs.  He had his--about rekindling hope, and bringing positive change to the US and to the world.  The World Health Organization has their's--including "providing leadership on matters critical to health," and "articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options."  Commercial companies like Pepsi-Co have one--being "the world's premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages." And toBHAG-NeonMan produce "financial rewards...[with] honesty, fairness and integrity."  I have one--to bring as much peace and healing into the world as possible.  What is your BHAG?  Your "Big Hairy Audacious Goal?!" 

What puts the "fire in your belly?" What keeps you grinding against the bureaucracy?  What is it that you tell people about what you do that makes their eyes light up? Name it! Claim it! And share it!

Most of our organizations have goal statements, or mission and vision statements. However, I am always surprised how many people do not know their own agency's, when I ask them during consulting or training. Often they are hidden away in some operations manual on someone's bookshelf.  (I was amazed at how hard it was to find the mission statements on the web sites of both commercial and human service organizations, while writing this post!!  Usually three to four clicks into the site! I never did find it clearly articulated for some.)

According to Wikipedia, business gurus Jim Collins and James Porras originated the term in their 1996 article Building Your Company's Vision (Harvard Business Review, Sept. 1).  Jim Collins' web site delves in to what makes a good BHAG.

I think having a BHAG provides a much under-utilized tool for us, to be successful in our work, to obtain partners or funding, to turn people on to what we are doing!  I think our BHAG can be--should be--more than the sometimes overly formal goal or mission or vision statement our organizations have.  Think about what excites you about your work! Where is the emotion?! Think about what you have said that has caused people's eyes to shine, and to come up and ask you questions. Think about what would cause someone to say, "She sounds crazy, but by gosh, I think she can do it--and I want to be on board!" These things should constitute your BHAG.

One of my heroes, Don Quixote, noted:  "Too much sanity may be madness.  And the maddest of all, to see things as they are and not as they should be."--I wish you sight to see things as they should be, and words to express that in a big, hairy, audacious way!

(Photo Credit: NeonMan)

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