Best Company BHAG Examples | Why You NEED to Have One

Leadership
Vision & Strategy

Imagine the biggest, wildest dream you’ve ever had for your business. Now multiply that by a hundred, throw in a dash of audacity, and you’ve got yourself a BHAG. 

These are not the ‘increase sales by 10%’ kind of goals. No, sir. BHAGs are the ‘let’s change the game and set the world on fire’ kind. They’re transformative, and they have this magical way of rallying your troops and making the sparks of strategy and innovation fly.

 

Understanding the BHAG Concept

The concept of a BHAG is creating a massive goal that is incredibly challenging and one that draws your team together so that they accomplish big things. It was introduced by Jim Collins in his book “Built to Last” and is a vital part of the long-term vision of your business.

As a leader, founder, or CEO, you want to find a goal that pulls at the heart strings of your staff just as much as it does yours. It’s about uniting a team around a passion and making them believe this insane goal is achievable. 

 

Setting Your Organization’s BHAG

Coming up with a solid BHAG isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. This is a big goal that see’s many pivots and strategy shifts along the way. In other words, it’s about non-linear thinking that starts by understanding your Hedgehog.

 

What’s Your Hedgehog?

Jim Collins came up with the concept of Hedgehog. It’s all about finding where your passion, your competencies, and your economic driver come together in a Venn diagram of strategic clarity. Your Hedgehog is right there, sitting at the intersection.  

That’s where your BHAG starts.  Ask yourself:  What are some ways you can measure your Hedgehog?  From here, you can start to see a goal forming.  

 

The Importance of Non-Linear Thinking

Thinking nonlinearly about your big goals is going to take a bit of a mindset shift. You can’t be thinking 2X, 4X or 5X growth. That’s because you can simply work harder to achieve that type of linear growth. You CAN’T work harder to achieve 10X growth. You need to work differently. That’s the ultimate goal of a BHAG.

 

Implementing and Achieving Your BHAG

Now that you’ve got your BHAG, now you need to embed that monster goal into the very DNA of your company culture. It’s not just a slogan on the wall; it’s a constant that’s forming and driving your strategy.

In our article about the Six Questions to Create Clarity, your BHAG should be part of “Where are we going?”.   It needs to be over-communicated and ritualized, so your leaders think bigger and your teams see the impact they’re making day after day.  

 

Company BHAG examples

There are some company BHAG examples out there that are less than stellar. While others perfectly capture everything I’ve talked about here today.

 

The Bad Ones

Let’s take Nike’s ‘crush Adidas.’ What does crush mean here? Are we talking grape-stomping kind of crush or something less tangible? And Boeing,’become the dominant player’? 

While these are great, competitive statements, how do you throw the end-of-game party if you don’t know when you’ve won? 

The standard Walmart example, Become a $125 billion company by year 2000. (Wal-Mart, 1990), may be exciting for shareholders and the executives who get bonused based on financial performance, but does it inspire the rest of the company to think bigger and do more? 

 

Man on the Moon

Here’s one of the best company BHAG examples. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed a monumental goal to the senate. He said we need to do everything we can to send a man to the moon and have him land back on earth safely. This was one of the great BHAG’s of our time. While Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, no one has yet to touch the surface of the moon.

This was a major step in space exploration. It was a way to cement the United States as a leader, and pioneer in space. This amazing BHAG was powerful enough to bring together the finest American talent to work towards one goal. It also brought the people of the US together, fostering a deep sense of national pride.

 

RedBalloon: Gifting the Extraordinary

In the land down under, RedBalloon looked at the traditional gift-wrapped box and saw something bigger—experiences that last a lifetime. This visionary company set its sights on a BHAG that was all about transformation—from tangible goods to intangible, unforgettable moments. Their mission was audacious: to sell 2 million experiences in Australia. From rejuvenating spa days to thrilling water adventures and enchanting weekend getaways, they wanted to make every occasion an expedition of joy. And guess what? They didn’t just reach their goal; they soared past it two years early. It was this pivot from gifting “stuff” to crafting “memories” that united their team and captured the hearts of a nation.

 

TenTree: Fashioning a Greener Tomorrow

Then there’s TenTree, a clothing brand that weaved sustainability into its very fabric. Their BHAG? Plant 1 billion trees by 2030. It’s a goal that’s good for business, brilliant for the planet, and beneficial for a team that’s passionate about our world’s future. This commitment extended beyond their internal operations and touched the customers too. Each package sent out carried a promise, a whisper of the growing forest, making customers feel part of something greater with every purchase. “We’re getting closer to our goal,” the message read, sparking a warmth in the buyers that only purpose-driven action can kindle.

 

Mystery Accounting Client: The Innovator’s Ally

Accounting, with its numbers and spreadsheets, may not quicken the pulse, but this firm discovered their beat with a BHAG that changed the game. They realized their work could breathe life into the Canadian innovation scene. Through programs like SR&ED, they weren’t just crunching numbers; they were fueling progress. Their goal was to reinvest $200 million into the innovation economy, a target that would turn the ‘boring’ world of accounting into a powerhouse of potential, seeding the growth of tomorrow’s industry giants.

 

Conclusion: The Enduring Impact of BHAGs

So, what’s the takeaway from our BHAG story? These goals, they’re the kind that stick with you, pushing you and your team to new heights, sparking innovation and, dare I say, making the business world a heck of a lot more interesting. They’re about creating a story for your company that’s worth telling. And who doesn’t love a good story?

Mike Knapp

STRATEGIC PLANNING & EXECUTION

Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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