Developing Your ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’


atmosphereIn 1996, James Collins and Jerry Porras coined the phrase. ‘Big, Hairy Audacious Goal’ (BHAG) to define a visionary goal that is both more strategic and emotionally compelling than most other goals that people or companies set. It has since become a part of the business development process for any and every company that sees itself as ‘larger than life’ in some way. This kind of vision should be impossible to attain, but something to always strive for.
The reason this has become so important is because it gives that company something to strive for that has meaning to it and passion behind it. It makes them think and act with purpose and drive, and keeps them from settling for mediocrity. When faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, they need only look to their BHAG to summon up the strength and decisiveness necessary to push forward. When they need to know what the next move in their development should be, they need only remind themselves of their vision and the path becomes clearer.
Here are some examples:
  • – ‘Every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.’ Also, ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company.’</li>
  • Disney – ‘To be the best company in the world for all fields of family entertainment.’</li>
  • Twitter – ‘To become the pulse of the planet.
If you know these companies at all, you can see immediately how they strive daily to attain these far-reaching goals.
As an indie artist or musician, you too should have your own BHAG. It should be personal and something that is unproportionately important to you. It might relate to your family. It might relate to the impact you want to have on the world. It might refer to what you want to be known or remembered for. It might reflect your songwriting, performances, personality or any other skill or trait that you want to build your career on. Only you can say what it is. One thing is for sure – without it, you will never excel to the point of being in a ‘class of your own’.
How do you determine what your BHAG is? Think about what drives you the most when no one would blame you if you eased up or even quit. What is it that compels you, or would compel you to practice your instrument every day? What is it that enables you, or would enable you to be at a radio station for an interview at 6 AM after playing until 2 AM the night before? What force gives you, or would give you the strength and stamina to get on stage night after night and give 110% to your audience regardless of how you feel personally?  It is your purpose in life, and something that you will never give up on, nor would you or settle for less.
Here at Indie Connect, our BHAG is ‘To unite the independent artists, songwriters, musicians, record labels and industry professionals worldwide under one umbrella organization for the sole purpose of supporting each other and our music.’ My wife and I have been working 15-18 hours a day, 7 days a week for the past 2 years to build this organization. Together we coordinate local meetings and speakers, coordinate new chapters springing up around the country, develop more content for the training library of over 200 videos, articles, podcasts and tools, publish the monthly Indie Connect
Magazine, manage our free social network, build and manage our vast website (over 400 pages built from scratch), deal with legal issues, market the company and our local meetings, coordinate our advisory board, develop new strategic alliances and marketing partners and much more.
The reason we do this day in and day out is because we believe that the independent music industry will be much stronger, and more independent musicians will be more successful, if we build a concrete way for everyone to work together and help each other. We know we will never get everyone in the industry around the world to join us, but we will make a serious impact on a lot of musicians everywhere. We believe that many people we will never personally meet are counting on us to help them increase their chances of success in the industry.
Think about your life and your career. Find that one force that keeps you pushing forward when others would give in. Write it down. Keep it in front of you as much as possible. And don’t ever give up your quest to attain it. Stay steadfast and single-minded. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.