Rule 4 of becoming a great place to work: Bag your BHAG

“Bag your BHAG: Working toward a shared goal” is part 4 in a blog series:
 6 extraordinary ways to be a great place to work

Jim Collins has inspired NetGain’s leadership ever since he started writing about how to build great companies two decades ago. One of his most innovative business strategies is the BHAG—the “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Five years ago, NetGain Technologies followed his advice to focus on our own BHAG, and it has fundamentally altered our business approach.

As Collins advises, our big hairy audacious goal has become the core of who we are as a company. We look at every decision we make through the lens of, How will this move us closer to our BHAG?

In 2017, we are at the halfway point of a 10-year goal to reach $3 million in monthly managed service revenue. That target effectively will distinguish NetGain as one of the world’s top-10 managed I.T. service providers. (We’ve been on the list of top 100 MSPs ranked by industry organization MSPmentor since 2009.) When we set our BHAG, it truly was audacious: We were a VAR (value-added retailer) just starting to transition to managed I.T. as our primary business model.

BHAG as a shared goal

In Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Collins identifies the requirements of a BHAG. “A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.”

We based NetGain’s BHAG on knowing who we are and focusing on what we do best. A true BHAG is a goal shared by all employees, and ours was meant to encourage a sense of ownership at all levels of the company.

Having a BHAG fosters entrepreneurship. NetGain’s 160 employees know when we reach the $3 million goal, the company will pay out a $1 million bonus. This is not a pipe dream, either. We discuss it at every monthly employee meeting and closely track our progress. It’s an incentive to work hard, to be fanatical about client satisfaction, and to be team players. Hitting the $1 million mark in 2017 means we’re on course to bag out BHAG within the coming five years.

I love discussing the motivational value of big business goals. Has your company set a big hairy audacious goal? Share your story in the comments or contact me through LinkedIn.

Next in this series, we’ll look at how onboarding new staff can be an important part of their employee experience. Here’s a list of the full 6 extraordinary ways to be a great place to work series:

  1. Know who you are
  2. Spending time together
  3. Make your clients love you
  4. Bag your BHAG
  5. Jazz up new employee onboarding
  6. Have fun
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