Some background on this rather obscure BHAG analogy.
BHAG is a term from Jim Collins’ books, Built to Last, and Good to Great and referenced in his other books and articles. It’s also used by many coaches and business gurus. BHAG is an acronym for Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
If you want to grow significantly and consistently, it helps to set a BHAG for your company. You want it to be ten plus years out, difficult to accomplish, and inspiring to the team. Something they can aspire to achieve that makes a difference. It also needs to be based in market dynamics and conditions.
I hope your BHAG isn’t a three lane swimming pool.
I swim four days a week at a workout facility near my home. It has a three lane swimming pool. Although I enjoy swimming there and appreciate the convenience and the impact the workouts have on my health, I regularly walk out scratching my head. Why a three lane pool? Who builds a three lane pool? It’s impossible to host swim meets or swim team practices with only three lanes. When a couple of lanes are used for water aerobics or swim lessons, only one lane is left for individual workouts. Too many swimmers have to share the lane. This makes workouts difficult at best; so people wait or leave.
The rest of the swimming facility is beautiful and modern. But by only building three lanes, the mission of the workout facility is limited. The impact the place can have on the community is restricted. None of these restrictions would exist if they had built a four lane pool.
So many BHAGs are limiting in the same way. They restrict one’s company to only one way of doing business or making an impact on the world.