Big Audacious Hairy Goals

By | April 29, 2012

stock-exchange-295649_640Did you notice I got that wrong?   It’s better known in the industry as a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”.

More about Big Audacious Hairy Goals
If one lacks motivation in whatever he/she does, it does not mean that there is something wrong with them or their motivation. In most case the problem is always with something that they want to be motivated towards because it might not be motivating at all. This might be hard to understand, especially to those who think that the goals they want to achieve should be motivating. Rationally, when someone looks at a goal they might think it is motivating, but for some reasons they simply cannot feel motivated to accomplish the goal. This is where big audacious hairy goals come in.

History and meaning of the term big hairy audacious goals:
This is a strategic business statement which was created to focus on individual or organizational long term goals that are audacious, likely to be questionable, but not regarded as impossible. The term was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in 1994 in their book titled Built Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Companies are encouraged to define visionary goals that are strategic and emotionally compelling. This is because most companies only set goals that describe what they hope to achieve in a short period of time.

How setting long term goals helps:
In their research, these two writers found that companies that were built to succeed and went from good to great are those that had long term goals that were extremely ambitious yet possible.

Most business focuses on goals that are set for today, this week, or the next 1 year. Short term Goal setting is crucial for every organization or individual to be able to understand where they are headed to, and what is expected of them.

Someone said that goals need to be realistic in order to be successful. However, the big problem with realistic goals is that they are mostly not motivating and limits an individual’s capability of achieving that goal. An employee may have the capability to achieve more than what you set for him. Big goals are the best option, if audacious but not entirely impossible. This works by forcing someone to do things that he/she never thought was possible. An individual benefits from increased creativity and he is able to come up with strategies for attaining the set goal. But most importantly, it gives an individual the motivation that is needed to achieve it.

How to create these goals:
Believing in ones capability
Anything unique that has ever been achieved started out as a dream, or an idea in someone’s minds. A small voice in one’s minds can turn out to be of great help when one plans to nourish them, by investing in personal growth. Spotting opportunities is not easy, especially if one views them as impossible. What one needs to do is to believe in their self and in their abilities to achieve even those goals that seem impossible.

Everyone should work to convert mission and vision into clear and comprehensive goals. Making future plans that are not understandable complicates their achievement. What one needs to do is to explore the bigger picture and create goals that will challenge you to achieve them. here I do not mean realistic goals, what I mean is that one should set goals that scares them a little, goals that will prompt them to think outside the box, and that requires them to grow so as to achieve them. The goals that am talking of are big daring goals.

Achieving tough goals starts with tough questions
Everyone should set ambitious goals. Believing that these goals are achievable is important but not enough to make them come true. Therefore, when one sets these goals, make sure they are ambitious. This will help one think of what stands in the way of the goal being achieved? What needs to be changed? Who does not believe they are possible? And what is the other alternative to achieving it?

Benefits of goal setting:
Inspiration – these goals inspire one to get out of bed early in the morning to work towards their achievement.

Improved creativity – such goals transform the way people think and drive them to think differently when looking for different strategies and their implementation.

Disadvantages of big goal setting:
Discouraging – such goals can lower people’s morale, specially if they believe that the goal is not achievable.

It is important to understand that setting a goal and failing to achieve it should not be regarded as the worst experience in life. Failure is ultimately what helps people grow because we learn from our past mistakes. One should not conclude that simply because one cannot achieve a goal that is too challenging that one will never be able to achieve it. One should learn to love challenges, learn from mistakes and keep moving forward!

Making Plans and Setting Goals for Your Brightest Future
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Read more about Big Audacious Hairy Goals and other Goal Setting tips and tricks by vising our Goal Setting page.


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  1. Pingback: Fear of Failure – Fear of Rejection – What’s Stopping You Achieving Your Big Dreams? | A Year From Today

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