Big Hairy Audacious Goal
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A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG - pronounced BEE-hag) is a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created[by whom?] to focus an organization on a single medium- to long-term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.
James Collins and Jerry Porras coined the term "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" in their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. A BHAG encourages organisations to define visionary goals that are more strategic and emotionally compelling. Many[quantify] organisations set goals that describe what they hope to accomplish over the coming days, months or years. These goals help align employees to work together more effectively. Often these goals are very tactical, such as "achieve 10% revenue growth in the next 3 months". In contrast, Collins and Porras define a BHAG as "an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future". The authors claim that a company may have more than one BHAG; there may be one over-reaching BHAG and other shorter-term BHAGs.
"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 Visionary Companies
Mahoney and McCue sound a cautionary note when assessing BHAGs, seeing them as "[w]orthwhile when relevant to the business; inspiring to employees but disappointing when dropped in a few years in favor of other goals".
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- Google: Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
- Hong Kong Broadband Network: Be the largest IP provider in Hong Kong by 2016.
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- Collins, Jim & Porras, Jerry I. (1994). Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. HarperBusiness. p. 113. ISBN 0-060-56610-8.
- Collins, Jim & Porras, Jerry I. (September 1996). "Building Your Company's Vision". Harvard Business Review. 74 (5): 65–77. (Subscription required (help)).
Mahoney, Richard J.; McCue, Joseph A. (January 1999). "Insights From Business Strategy and Management 'Big Ideas' of the Past Three Decades: Are They Fads or Enablers?" (PDF). Washington University in St. Louis. The CEO Series. St. Louis: Center for the Study of American Business. Center for the Study of American Business. p. 16. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
Worthwhile when relevant to the business; inspiring to employees but disappointing when dropped in a few years in favor of other goals.
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Both are a far cry from the Bill Gates era. 'A computer on every desk and in every home' was clearer in intent and actually measurable; it was a mission statement that allowed Microsoft to more or less say 'Mission accomplished.'
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