The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) framework is a long-term goal-setting framework introduced in the book "Built To Last Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" by Collins and Porras. This framework aims to create ambitious, inspiring, and challenging goals that can drive a company's growth and success for 12-15 years.

BHAG goals are categorized into four different types, including target-oriented BHAG, competitive-oriented BHAG, role model BHAG, and internal transformation BHAG.

In this article, we will understand the categories of BHAG Goals in Business:

Categories of BHAG Goals:


  • Target Oriented BHAG:

    In this category, the goal is to achieve predetermined targets such as reaching a $1 billion valuation of a company in 5 years and becoming a unicorn company. It varies from organization to organization. Achieving a specific goal within a certain timeframe ensures better time management and good results. For example, ‘Microsoft’ target was to ‘A computer on every desk and in every home,’ and ‘Walmart aimed to reach $125 billion in sales by 2000.

  • Competitive Oriented BHAG:

    This category involves overtaking top competitors, where the organization faces competition with larger organizations. For example, in 1960, Nike's original goal was to surpass Adidas, and NASA's goal in 1970 was to reach the moon, competing with the USSR. Notably, individuals like Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk competed to become space astronauts. Sir Richard Branson reached space before Jeff Bezos on July 11, but Jeff Bezos, being competitive-oriented, broke the Guinness world record in 2021.

  • Role Model BHAG:

    In this category, the goal is to become a role model. For example, Harvard University is much older than Stanford University, however, both universities hold the same position in the market.

  • Internal Transformation BHAG:

    To remain competitive, internal transformation is crucial for businesses. It creates positive change in the business model. For example, Netflix transitioned from DVD mailing to an OTT platform. Another example is Google, which underwent a small transformation to become the top browser in the world.

Internal transformation should be:

  • C- Compelling and Exciting
  • A- Action-oriented
  • D- Decade (minimum 10 years plan)
  • I- Innovative

In conclusion, the BHAG framework is an effective tool for businesses to set and achieve long-term goals that drive growth and success. By categorizing BHAG goals into different types, companies can tailor their approach to goal-setting based on their specific needs and objectives. Whether it's achieving a specific target, outpacing competitors, becoming a role model in the industry, or transforming their internal operations, the BHAG framework can help businesses achieve their goals in a compelling, exciting, and innovative way.

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