Picking the Goal

Let’s say you want to set out a Big Goal to rally your team. What do we know about choosing a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)? Are there any dos and don’ts?

How About a Financial Goal?

Last year’s sales were $9.1 Million. C’mon guys, let’s make it a $10 Million year! What’s wrong with that??

Nothing wrong, actually. It’s just that, except for the leadership team, financial goals ring a little hollow. They inspire the larger team a little, but not as much as you might think. They can sound a little abstract. I’d recommend digging deeper.

Are We Living Our Values?

Probably…but there may be shortfalls. I once worked for a consulting firm whose one-word Mission Statement was Results. Excellent! We wanted our clients to accomplish real results. But did they? Well, Yes and No…

Maybe that consulting firm could put metrics on its clients’ results, and then kick it up a notch next year. Think how much more inspiring that would be to a team of consultants than a sales goal. Not to mention how the clients would feel about it!

Big Issues

You have a list of current issues and challenges. One of those issues is crying out for solution.

Personal story: For several decades I worked for a big international electronics company that built precision instruments. Super accurate, best you could buy. But…they broke much too frequently! One day our CEO announced a big goal for the company: a 10-times improvement in our failure rate in three years. Wow! That blew the minds of all our engineers, including me.

We rolled up our sleeves and…we did it! But the key here was the side benefits: the entire company came alive around that goal (we called it “10x”). Quality became solidly established as a fundamental value. Pride in our work, and our company, flourished. Our customers loved it. It became easy to hire the best and brightest. Decades later, that spirit persists.

The 10x Goal was nothing short of genius.

The Moral to the Story

Be creative when selecting your big goal, your BHAG. Have it span as much of your organization as you can. Make it challenging, but still do-able. Find a goal that benefits your customers in a big way. And finally, when the goal is accomplished, you’ll want your team to feel a deep pride in what they’ve done.