Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BHAG

I’ve been a little melancholy lately. I’m not sure exactly where it’s coming from but it could just be the unfun jobs of packing and unpacking, cleaning and laundry I’ve had in front of me. Or it could be Michael Jr’s absence. He’s at Scout camp this week. Maybe it’s the heat. Or that hour of my life I’ll never get back spent making dental appointments for the kids (none available till November? I hate managed care), making arrangements for the older two to attend public school (we’ll see how that goes), and getting final details hammered out for Kenny’s baptism on Sunday. Not that I want the hour back or anything; I just hate being on the phone. Really though, I don’t think it’s any of those things. Or any other things either. My theory is that it’s not a something but a lack of something. I need something to get excited about. I need a BHAG.

A BHAG is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a phrase coined by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article entitled “Building Your Company’s Vision”. It’s like a vision statement. A 10 to 30 year goal to progress toward. I read about this in the book I mentioned on June 17. Janna wrote about her and her husband’s decision to come up with a BHAG they could share. It’s really got me thinking.

I think it’s not unusual to have large, vague goals and their very existence can ensure that we’re moving in the right direction. We may not put a lot into them but they keep us on track. For example, when I was young I knew without question that I would graduate from high school and college. That was the expectation and I never gave it much thought one way or the other. I didn’t love academics but I also knew anything below a “B-“ was unacceptable. Knowing these things, I moved along a particular trajectory. I had other friends who were probably smarter than me but knew no such things. Their sights weren’t set on much and that’s pretty much what they achieved.

But these amorphous intentions aren’t really what I’m talking about. I need something bigger and, of course, hairy and audacious. But what? I guess it’s time to get to know Tiff a little better. Time to find out what makes her tick. To be continued . . .
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So, what do you think?