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The Fourth Commandment Of Strategic Planning: Set Audacious Goals


There are many acronyms used in goal setting, all for the benefit of having meaningful and everlasting goals. One is to set BHAGs — big hairy audacious goals, as Jim Collins calls them.

Let me explain why those are critical for growth. Why must every organization and every leader be “audacious” in their goals, and why must they be willing to eat their own breakfast — meaning their current way of doing business?

Have you ever thought of this question?

What are the common denominators of the failures of such icons as Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), IBM typewriters and others?

In a September 2014 Forbes article, Greg Satell writes, “The irony is that Blockbuster failed because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine. It was a very tight network that could execute with extreme efficiency, but poorly suited to let in new information.”

In a January 2012 article, again in Forbes, Avi Dan writes, “Kodak did not fail because it missed the digital age. It actually invented the first digital camera in 1975. However, instead of marketing the new technology, the company held back for fear of hurting its lucrative film business, even after digital products were reshaping the market.

These companies weren’t good at adaptation. The same could be true for the companies listed above and many more failures.

Now look at those that were successful. What are their common denominators?

In a February 2019 Forbes article, Blake Morgan emphasizes the importance of adaptability and innovation, writing that Netflix “understands the need to constantly be innovating. The company has changed drastically from its original form of a DVD service.” She continues, “Looking for new technology and staying ahead of trends helps it define and disrupt the industry.”