Unleashing Success: The Power of Setting Your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

In the quest for organizational success, setting clear and ambitious goals is paramount. Among these goals, one stands out as a transformative force: the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). By defining a BHAG, companies envision their desired future state and pave the way for strategic planning.

Defining the BHAG

A BHAG is a game-changing, audacious goal that goes beyond incremental growth. It’s a compelling vision that inspires and energizes the entire organization. When crafting your BHAG, think big, daring, and aligned with your purpose. It should stretch your capabilities, ignite passion, and capture the imagination of your team.

Creating the Work-Back Plan

Once your BHAG is established, it’s essential to develop a work-back plan that breaks down the journey into manageable milestones. By setting targets for each year, you create a roadmap that serves as a guide for strategic decision-making and resource allocation. The work-back plan provides a clear line of sight from your long-term vision to the actions needed in the present.

Clarity on Annual Objectives

The work-back plan helps translate your BHAG into annual objectives that align with your strategic direction. Each year becomes a steppingstone towards your long-term goal. With a defined work-back plan, you gain clarity on the specific initiatives, projects, and targets that need to be accomplished in the next 12 months. This clarity enables focused execution and efficient resource allocation.

Driving Alignment and Accountability

A BHAG combined with a work-back plan cultivates alignment and accountability throughout the organization. It creates a shared vision and unifies efforts toward a common purpose. With clear milestones, teams can align their objectives, initiatives, and resources to support the broader organizational goals. This alignment fosters collaboration, enhances efficiency, and increases the likelihood of achieving the BHAG.

Adaptability and Course Correction

While the BHAG provides a long-term vision, the work-back plan allows for adaptability and course correction. As you progress, market dynamics and internal factors may change. Regularly evaluate your plan, reassess milestones, and make necessary adjustments to stay on track. This flexibility enables you to respond to emerging opportunities and challenges, ensuring the relevance and feasibility of your goals.


In the pursuit of extraordinary achievements, organizations must embrace the power of setting a BHAG. This audacious goal, when combined with a well-crafted work-back plan, propels companies towards their desired future state. By setting milestone targets for each year, organizations gain clarity, alignment, and a roadmap for success. As you work towards your BHAG, regularly assess your plan, adapt to the changing landscape, and celebrate the milestones achieved along the way. Embrace the transformative impact of your BHAG and set the stage for a remarkable journey towards long-term success.

Linda Ruffenach

Founder / Chief Strategic Officer at Execuity. Linda is an experienced entrepreneur, skilled facilitator, and bourbon badass. Her 20+ years of C-level experience enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, leading and mentoring undergrad and graduate students on their path to business ownership Linda’s superpower is turning strategy into results.