We love Jim Collins in our college. It’s hard to find a bookshelf that doesn’t have “Built to Last” and “Good to Great” on it. Several of us are ardent users of Jim’s earlier book, “Beyond Entrepreneurship.” We’ve used it to work with organizations – for-profit, non-profit, and public sector – in need of a clear vision framework. And, of course, legions of CSU business students are taught that they need a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to drive their ventures.
Thus, I feel like a heretic to argue that the BHAG has run its course and must give way to the BHIP. First of all, Big, hairy, and audacious are, well, they are kind of the same thing. You could really call it an AG and get business people to the same point. That’s not to even mention that Joseph Stalin and Idi Amin all had BHAGs, thus calling for some additional qualifier or, better yet, a new concept.
So what’s a BHIP?
“B” is for beneficial. It’s an old saw in business that you sell the benefits, essentially answering the most important of all business questions: “so what?”
“H” is for humane, which calls for compassion or benevolence. In a world where enlightened business people refer to people, planet, and profit, this covers both the people and planet.
“I” for inclusive, because after centuries of ignoring 75 to 90 percent of the consumers and markets on this planet, including them in our business planning is going to improve our chances for success.
“P” for purpose, because having a purpose matters more than having a goal. Goals are way off in the distance, a destination that one is heading toward. A purpose, on the other hand, is something that exists in the moment that drives process, strategy, mission, and essentially everything that we do.