What Is a BHAG? Why You Should Reach for Audacious Goals

What Is BHAG? Why You Should Reach for Audacious Goals

BHAG (pronounced “bee-hag”) stands for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”. This concept was first mentioned in the book Built to Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. The book focuses on the successful habits of visionary companies like Marriott, Proctor & Gamble, and Walt Disney.

What Is BHAG?

Firstly, BHAG helps stimulate progress in a compelling way, according to the authors. It is a clear and compelling concept that needs little explanation. Most people understand the idea almost instantly. From the authors’ point of view, BHAG is a purpose that may seem unreasonable and nearly impossible for many, but you have a clear vision of how to get there.

The best BHAGs entail long-term planning while pursuing a persistent sense of urgency. It’s about remaining focused on your goals in almost a delirious fashion.

BHAG is what sets great companies apart from average ones. But at the same time, BHAG can be leveraged by anyone. Another wonderful thing about BHAG is that it can drive your business forward even when you don’t achieve the goal you were focused on. All you have to do is set strong BHAGs for your organization and pursue your goal with a laser-sharp focus.

We have already seen that BHAG is a long-term goal – a 10 to 30-year target requiring momentous effort, resource deployment, and unwavering commitment. It is also meant to be challenging and inspiring, ambitious and audacious. BHAG demands a paradigm shift in the way people think and work.

What BHAG Looks Like

BHAG should be

  • Specifically created for a particular goal.
  • Measurable and time-bound.
  • Have a clear roadmap for achievement.
  • Timebound and broken down into achievable components
  • finally, be consistent with the company’s values, purpose, and mission.

A well-crafted BHAG can inspire and motivate your team. It can additionally create a sense of purpose in everything you do. BHAG also helps align every department of the organization towards a common goal.

Two Key Reasons Why Your Organization Must Pursue BHAG

If you want your organization to stand apart in certain ways and achieve lasting prominence, BHAG can take you there. There are many other reasons why your organization must incorporate BHAG.

An Effective Unifier

All businesses want to do something of value. It is not easy to achieve greatness, as it entails a constant push for change. It also involves a relentless pursuit of development and innovation. Sounds tough, right? Obviously, BHAG is not for entrepreneurs who love to play safe and loathe experimenting with new ideas.

The perfect example of BHAG implementation and execution is NASA.

NASA’s BHAG was to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth. The odds of accomplishing the mission were 50-50 at best. That’s a huge deal of uncertainty. But NASA was driven by the excitement of accomplishing its big, hairy, audacious goal. The thought unified the team like nothing else. It gave them a purpose to remain wholeheartedly focused on.

When an organization decides to pursue a huge, nearly impossible-to-achieve goal that has a clear finish line, it puts a kind of fire in the belly. Everyone wants to work their guts out to achieve that implausible goal. It pushes them all to work harder and more creatively. They are programmed to treat every small success (and failure) along the way as a component of the ultimate goal.

BHAG Pushes Organizations To Inculcate The Winning Temperament

A BHAG helps you discover new things about your capabilities. The limits you impose on yourself crumble away, giving shape to bigger goals. Additionally, it energizes your team to the point that you think about nothing else. You are also driven by a sense of motivation, and you don’t mind changing your core business strategies to reach the goals you have envisaged.

Are You Fired Up?

Now that you know how BHAG works, are you motivated enough to create your own BHAG? Here are the baby steps you must take.

The first and foremost thing to do is think BIG! BHAG is all about achieving the near impossible. It is also for business leaders who are born for big things. If you can pull off your BHAG, you will find your organization bracketed with all-time greats! Aim for a goal that will

  • Spin around your head and make you restless with excitement
  • Keep you and your team energized and motivated at all times
  • Takes you to newer heights of inspiration

To conclude, don’t get stuck in the rut of corporate mumbo jumbo or long vision and mission statements. Based on your BHAG, you can create a new statement reflecting the goals and values your organization aims to achieve.


In summary, BHAG is a long-term goal designed to take your company to the elite list of great achievers. These are daunting tasks that can take many years to give shape and achieve. They take years of persistent effort, hard work, continuous learning, and unlearning too. Most importantly, you must believe these goals are possible to achieve. When you take the small steps towards your massive goals, you cannot be denied your rightful place in history.