BHAG as a North Star

Every leader has an imperative to define, declare and clearly communicate a goal line, for their team.  Without a goal, a team is not a team… it’s simply a mob. When a leader declares a goal, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG),  it has the power to transform an unruly, undisciplined mob into a team. If a plan is a goal and date, then a BHAG serves as the basis for the teams strategic plan. What is the major goal your team is working towards? If you don’t know… neither does your “team.” 

A BHAG is a north star. It provides directional guidance. A company without a BHAG is like Dory in Finding Nemo. With no clear long-term or mid-term goals, team members, leaders, companies, jump to the distraction of one shiny distracting object to the next.

The difference between a company without and a company with a BHAG is like the difference between leisure pleasure daysailing and America’s Cup racing.

When a crew goes out day sailing, there is no plan, no goal, no urgency. Very little need to navigate by the stars. Crew members do what they want, when they want it. The boat just goes with the wind.

It’s fun, it’s leisurely and it’s low adrenaline. The achievement at the end of the day is returning back to where you started, with boat and crew undamaged and relaxed. Everyone goes home happy.

But when you’re a member of a crack crew in a sailboat race, it’s a different experience. Everyone has assigned roles, tasks, and stations. Team members know what is expected of them. There’s a goal, complete the assigned course before the other boats. Crossing the goal line first defines a win.

There is a sense of urgency, everyone pushes themselves. There’s adrenaline and tension. When it’s over the crew is exhausted, relieved, and if you won, elated. Even if you didn’t win, as long as everyone performed well, the crew is closer. They’ve gone through a shared experience.

People who didn’t bring their best game, are shunned, they either self-opt out or aren’t invited to the next race. A good competitive experience creates a closer team with shared goals and shared values.

It takes 725,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and 2.000 degrees of heat over billions of years to form a diamond. Fortunately, it takes significantly less heat, pressure and time to build a high performing team. The pressure of a goal and a deadline, like the pressure a crew is exposed to during a race, helps a team gel.

A goal, a BEHAG is that guiding north star that keeps your team focused and moving in the same direction.

Want to discuss ways to build a high-performance culture without applying 2,000 degrees of heat? Want to figure out how you can unleash the discretionary energy of your team? Want to drive performance improvements without pushing down on your team with 725,000 pounds of pressure? Try a complimentary, one-hour, online, coaching session. Schedule it now by pressing that little red button down there.