Ten Ways to Encourage Your Team to Embrace Big, Hairy Audacious Goals

Ron McIntyre
4 min readNov 27, 2023

Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are ambitious, long-term objectives that can propel organizations and teams to new heights. However, getting your team to embrace and commit to these audacious goals fully can be a challenging task. If the culture is deeply committed to short-termism, it may not be possible to adopt any BHAGs.

If you hear “We have never done it that way” or “We can’t do that,” it is time to check your culture and reaffirm the vision, values, and mission. Start with yourself to ensure that it is not emanating from your offices. If necessary, keep digging until you find a source of the attitude and begin working on ensuring that everything about your vision is clear and understandable. Seek people’s commitment to them or why they choose not to believe in the foundation of your vision.

To help you motivate and inspire your team, here are ten effective ways to encourage them to embrace BHAGs.

1. Clearly Define the BHAG:

Start by articulating the BHAG in clear and concise terms. Seek input from everyone who will be touched by the BHAG and ensure everyone on your team understands the goal, why it’s essential, and how it aligns with the organization’s mission and values. Use vivid language and storytelling to make the BHAG come alive. The chances of failure increase with the lack of team buy-in.

2. Communicate the Vision:

Paint a compelling picture of the future that achieving the BHAG will create. Help your team see the impact of their efforts on the organization, industry, and even the world. When people connect emotionally with the vision, they are more likely to commit to it. However, make sure you don’t embellish or exaggerate to the point that people are skittish and standoffish.

3. Break It Down:

The bigger the BHAG, the more it can be overwhelming if viewed as a single, giant objective. Break it into smaller, manageable milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs). This allows your team to track progress, stay motivated, and celebrate achievements. Make sure there are continuous updates and be transparent about any adjustments or failures in the process.

4. Foster a Culture of Innovation:

Encourage everyone to think creatively and explore new approaches to tackle the BHAG. Make it clear that innovation and experimentation are not only allowed but also valued. Create a psychologically safe space for sharing ideas and taking calculated risks. Be transparent with failures and ensure everyone is free to learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. Acknowledge when the team has learned from a failure and found a positive solution.

5. Set Stretch Goals:

Incorporate BHAG-related objectives into individual performance goals. By setting stretch goals for team members, you challenge them to reach beyond their comfort zones and contribute to the BHAG’s success. The key to this point is that everyone must participate in the stretch. Nothing will kill a BHAG more than some seeing that only a part of the team is doing all the work.

6. Provide Resources and Support:

Ensuring your team has the resources, tools, and training to pursue the BHAG is critical. Offer guidance, mentorship, and coaching to help team members develop the skills and capabilities required to excel. Positive reinforcement is as necessary as any tool can be in striving for BHAG goals.

7. Recognize and Reward Progress:

Acknowledge and celebrate small and significant milestones achieved on the journey to the BHAG. Recognition and rewards can motivate your team and reinforce their commitment to the goal. They don’t have to be expensive, just honest, heartfelt and relevant. Engineer celebration milestones in your process and ensure they are kept active and accountable. If you are a small organization, find ways to spread out the celebration, and avoid giving the same person accolades month after month, as this will isolate them from the rest of the team.

8. Foster Collaboration:

Encourage collaboration among team members and across departments. BHAGs often require a collective effort, and fostering a sense of unity can help your team overcome challenges and achieve extraordinary results. Avoid over-complicating the process or tracking of the collaboration. Firms often load up the process because they fear someone may take advantage of it. Ensure the team is self-monitoring to get the best results.

9. Lead by Example:

Demonstrate your commitment to the BHAG through your actions and behaviors. Lead by example, and show your team that you are willing to put in the effort and dedication required to achieve the audacious goal. If you are not transparent and genuine, your people will tell you only what they think you want to hear rather than truth and facts.

10. Maintain Resilience and Adaptability:

Recognize that the path to a BHAG will involve setbacks and obstacles. Encourage everyone to remain resilient, learn from failures, and adapt their strategies. A BHAG is a long-term endeavor, and perseverance is vital.

In summary:

Embracing Big Hairy Audacious Goals requires a combination of vision, strategy, and effective leadership. These ten strategies can inspire and empower your team to commit to ambitious objectives and achieve remarkable results. BHAGs have the potential to transform organizations and leave a lasting legacy, making them worth the effort of rallying your team to embrace them wholeheartedly.



Ron McIntyre

Ron McIntyre is a Leadership Anthropologist, Author, and Consultant, who, in semi-retirement, is looking to help people who really want to make a difference.