By Michael Gunther

Our Collaboration team is currently redefining our five year strategy. It has been interesting for me to witness how different team members respond to the planning process. Myself − being a ‘big picture’ thinker – openly discuss visions of where I think we and Collaboration can be over the next five years. Others on the team are much more focused on the “how” and at times are trying to figure out implementation strategies prior to even landing on the bigger picture plan.  Or are questioning the longer-term plan because there isn’t necessarily a clear path on how to make our goal a reality.

I have always believed in the concept of “BHAGs” – big hairy and audacious goals. I believe, a team of people can create great things by pushing themselves to new larger, sometimes scary, goals. Think of all the great achievements in business or in life, they are often accomplished by identifying a goal or idea that was believed to be impossible which creates a new sense of strength and innovation beyond what was thought possible. Whether it was Columbus in circumventing the globe or the Wright brothers in attempting to fly.

I am sure you can even think of goals you pushed for in your life or business that stretched you to new levels of achievement. You may not have had a clear path of how you were going to do it, but you believed in the goal strong enough that you knew you could achieve it. This reminded me of something my dad taught me about faith. Faith is: believing without seeing. Having faith in your abilities and possibilities and knowing that you can figure it out and handle any adversity along the way. Faith is knowing that the team you have built has the potential to create things greater than themselves.

I am not suggesting that the tactical planning process isn’t important. In fact, I think it is a critical aspect of goal attainment. But if the tactical worries or thinking enters that strategy process too soon – it can often be perceived that we cannot achieve the larger goal. I have seen teams get mired in the tactical and get frustrated with the long term planning process because everyone on their team were so focused on the tactical prior to truly clarifying their BHAGs.

To achieve great things you have to think about creating goals that push beyond your comfort zone. These goals are what I might also call the ‘sweaty palm goals.” Goals that make you a little nervous because you truly don’t know how you will get there (thus, the sweaty palms) but you have faith that you and your team will be able to figure it.

Bottom Line

As a leader are you pushing and challenging yourself and your team to reach big, hairy audacious goals? Are you letting the tactical aspects of achievement prevent you and your team from truly pushing your organization to unchartered levels? If you are not creating these bigger goals, companies end up playing at the status quo level. Start with the company’s vision and mission, define goals that are challenging, get alignment with your team, then focus on the tactical aspects of making that goal a reality. Have faith in the process.


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