Think Big

Do you think small? Or, do you have a compelling vision that gives your work purpose? What gets you out of bed in the morning other than the knowledge that someone expects you to punch the clock at the office?

Some have reported that in their view the safest course through the economic downturn was to pursue tactical goals rather than grand visions.  They have taken comfort in the sense of forward motion generated by their incremental gains.  However, while achieving these goals can be satisfying (in the way that crossing something off a to do list can be satisfying), they too rarely provide the competitive advantage that our firms are looking for.

What works better?  Pursuing a BHAG: a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  Jim Collins and Jerry Porras coined this phrase to capture the kind of grand vision that a company articulates and then uses as an organizing principle and a spur to greater action.  Google doesn’t just want to be the go to search engine. Google’s BHAG is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”  Amazon doesn’t just want to be a great bookstore.  Rather, Amazon’s BHAG is a little grander than that:  “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company for three primary customer sets — consumer customers, seller customers and developer customers.”  That’s all?

What audacious, outrageous goal are you trying to achieve with knowledge management?  Is it big enough to keep you and your team energized and focused?  As we emerge from the economic downturn, bold ideas are going to help the surviving firms thrive.  What’s your bold idea?

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Here are some additional resources on BHAGs:

[Photo Credit: jiruan]

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