Do you have a BHAG?

In their acclaimed book, Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras note that visionary companies set Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs), bold mission statements that act as powerful mechanisms to stimulate corporate progress. BHAGs are clear, compelling, serve as unifying focal points of effort, have clear finish lines, and often create immense team spirit. As the authors note,


A BHAG engages people - it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People 'get it' right away; it takes little or no explanation (p. 94).

Most importantly, BHAGs stimulate action. They create momentum, stimulate commitment, and get people willing to allocate their creative talents and human energies. President Kennedy's 1961 proclamation that the U.S. would land a man on the moon (and return him safely) by the end of the decade was a classic BHAG. While BHAGs may seem crazy to outsiders, they are seen as eminently attainable by organizational insiders. Visionary companies make the use of BHAGs an institutional habit, a way of life: when one is achieved, another one is created.

Does your technology plan have a BHAG? More generally, does your school organization have a BHAG? If not, what might be one?

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