I have a whiteboard in my office with one simple question written across the top in big black letters, "What is the B-HAG?" The letters stand for Big Hairy Audacious Goal, an idea conceptualized in the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. According to Collins and Porras, a BHAG is a long-term goal that changes the very nature of a business.
B-HAGs are great because they provide an opportunity to mentally let go of constraints and allow your imagination to take charge. These ideas should be overly ambitious while seeming attainable through hard work and perseverance. Think of Walt Disney looking out on swampland in South Florida and envisioning a world of wonder for all ages.
While Porras and Collins use 10 years as a timeframe for these goals, I like to scale them down to 5 years. An example of a B-HAG for our community would be, "Fundamentally transform the philanthropic profile of our community and establish a new normal for involvement, philanthropy, and education." To achieve this goal we will need to increase the number of donors to the Federation Annual Campaign - The Campaign for Jewish Needs - by 400% in the next five years.
An increase in donors of this scope and size will be a game changer for our community on many fronts. More donors will equal more dollars, which will equal more allocable resources for our programmatic partners and ensure a higher level of service for those in need. An exponential increase in donors will also strongly correlate with an enhanced level of understanding about the work of the Jewish Federation and our community partners. A community that is better informed and educated will affiliate at a higher rate and in turn become dedicated active participants in the community's collective efforts. This will fundamentally change the very nature of our business.
Will "Fundamentally transforming the philanthropic profile of our community and establishing a new normal for involvement, philanthropy, and education," be difficult? Will achieving this goal transform the community? The answer to both questions is yes, and therefore fits the description of a B-HAG.
Certainly our individual agencies and congregations have their own goals, big and small. That said, I believe that we need to establish a few community-wide B-HAGs that require everyone to work collectively. This will necessitate the community working collaboratively on not only strategic planning, but also strategic implementation.
This is the role of the Jewish Federation. We are the place where the big, transformational goals are curated for the community to achieve. We are the strategic arm that drives the transformational goals and aspirations of our Jewish community.
The bottom line here is that we must start talking about the big ideas of what we ultimately want for the future of our community as a whole. So, in the spirit of this blog post, I have a question for the community. What is our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (B-HAG), and would the achievement of this goal transform our community, and if so, how?
I welcome your B-HAG submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and Shabbat Shalom!