It’s All About the BHAG

November 3, 2014 Brian Beattie

The demographic makeup of the workforce is changing. With these changes it is becoming more and more apparent that people want to do something that has meaning in their day to day jobs. As Steve Jobs once said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.” Employees want something that they can get behind, support, and know that their efforts are accomplishing something.  Having a clear and well defined goal for a company is absolutely critical if you want to give people the meaning they are searching for.

If you think that a company’s mission statement is that goal, then think again. What I’m talking about is a BHAG. A what? BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A BHAG is a visionary goal that is more strategic in nature and emotionally appeals to people. It helps to align employees to work together more effectively by being a focal point and catalyst for team spirit.

A great example of a BHAG comes from one of our companies in the transportation vertical, Trapeze Group. Their BHAG is: “to touch every passenger’s journey worldwide”.

At Volaris, our BHAG is “To acquire, strengthen, and grow vertical market technology companies enabling them to be clear leaders (#1 or #2) within their focused industry.” It’s specific, measurable, and gives a clear focus on what direction we want the business to head in.

In order for us to realize this goal, we need to insist that each of our businesses in turn have a clear BHAG; expand our capacity to develop products, enter new markets, and to buy and integrate new companies; and finally drive organic growth by clearly encouraging entrepreneurialism*.  By outlining what it will take to accomplish our BHAG, it gives employees a clearer picture of what is expected of them and provides an identifiable roadmap to achieve this goal.

A BHAG is not a new concept – it has been used in the past by many great leaders – but it is underutilized in today’s business environment. If more companies had BHAGs, they would find that they will have a stronger, more cohesive workforce and better achieve their goals.

Your Turn

Does your company have a BHAG? Have you noticed a difference between companies that have one vs. those that don’t? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

*Want to know how we encourage entrepreneurialism? Check out our earlier blog post: Fostering an Entrepreneurial Culture within Your Organization.

About the Author

Brian Beattie

Brian Beattie is the Chief Financial Officer at Volaris Group. Besides overseeing the financial health of the company, he works closely with Volaris’ legal and M&A team on all new acquisitions. Brian is an expert on every stage of the M&A process – from sending out the non-disclosure agreement to executing the sales purchase agreement.

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