Do You Have a BHAG?

A BHAG stands for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” and was proposed flag poleby Jim Collins in his book Built to Last. I read this book a few years back and although it was initially meant for businesses, it has been adopted for personal mission statements or the one thing that people would like to accomplish in their life that is a huge stretch.

I thought of this acronym when my wife and I were driving to Green Bay, Wisconsin visiting my brother. We passed this huge flag and pole in front of the company Acuity in Sheboygan. I asked my brother about this and he said it is the world’s tallest flag pole. I replied – the world’s? His reply was yes, and it was a new one this year as the old one fell down because the flag was so big. That intrigued me so I dug into it a bit and here is what I found.

Acuity dedicated this 400 foot flagpole that’s flying an American flag measuring 60 feet high by 120 feet long. The flagpole was dedicated on June 16th of 2015 which makes sense why I haven’t noticed it after 25 years of driving up to Green Bay with my wife. The flagpole is one of the most visible landmarks on the Interstate 43 corridor, and the flag was raised as a symbol of gratitude to our country and those who defend it. At the base of the pole is a Veterans Memorial, which features the names of every Sheboygan County veteran killed in the line of duty.

After reading this, I thought wow that is a BHAG. But upon further research, it was the company’s fourth attempt to build the country’s tallest flagpole. The first was built in 2003 and was 150 feet tall. It was expanded to 200 feet, but it toppled in a winter storm. The next pole was 300 feet and it was replaced by a 338 foot pole but could be seen literally swaying in the wind.

Six years later, the 400-foot pole was built to last. It was set in 680 cubic yards of concrete, and has pendulum implements to reduce movement in the wind. The testimony of the flagpole speaks to the fact you can bend us, but we are not permanently broken. Acuity’s President and CEO says the flagpole stands as a monument to the country’s never-say-die attitude.

I feel that is a really strong statement and in this case a core value of a person and a company. Having core values, a mission statement and a BHAG helps us all keep our feet pointed in the proper direction and not get distracted with the little stuff – the stuff that pulls us off track. Are you getting tangled up in the weeds and not looking at your big picture?

Action Items and Thoughts

  • Watch who you are hanging out with, make sure they support your values, mission and BHAG if you have one.
  • If you don’t have your core values defined – do it.
  • If you don’t have your mission statement defined – do it.
  • If you don’t have a BHAG – dream big and create one.

Remember, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan. Define your life, do a life plan, and live on purpose. Good Luck!!!