How to Pick the Right Big Goal

How to Pick the Right Big Goal post image

Want more success and fun for your team? Try picking one BIG goal.

When looking to make a difference for the business, I always look for the “one big goal” that we can accomplish that will really make an impact. As Covey would say, what is your most “Wildly Important Goal”?  What will be dramatically different (better) after our team is done with it? What needs to be transformed?

Of course, organizations are complex and it’s impossible to have a singular focus. However, I have found that planning for one BIG success, along with one or two other related goals, creates a clear path that is easy to follow. You will know if you have accomplished this if years later, people are still talking about the contribution that team made.

4 Ways to Grow Your Goal

Pick the Right BIG Goal

  • What does the business need most?
  • What are others struggling to accomplish?
  • What do people think can’t be done?
  • What is this team best positioned to do?
  • Are you passionately personally committed to this?

Gain Alignment

  • Do your boss and other key stakeholders see this as vital (even if they don’t think it is doable)
  • Are at least a few strong and energetic people on your team aligned (I have found in real turnaround situations, it usually takes some time to get everyone there)
  • Develop a zealous engagement and communication plan
  • Reinforce the vision non-stop (I have been accused of being a “maniac” about the vision)
  • Create imagery to align with the goal (use it to tie everything together)

Engage the Team

  • Involve everyone in the planning and execution
  • Involve them more
  • Break the problem down into manageable pieces, celebrate every milestone
  • Celebrate the big contributors, have them teach others
  • Learn from your skeptics, that bring them in to help
  • Celebrate the skeptic turnaround stories
  • Communicate constantly on the subject

Recognize Every Little Win

  • Create a rally cry, celebrate every contribution and link it to the bigger picture
  • Pay attention to what is working everywhere you go
  • Make success easy to notice, celebrate loudly and everywhere
  • Stay the course

In a complicated world we must do many things well. We must be “AND” leaders. I have also found that it is much more fun to also pick the home run in advance and leave nothing on the field when playing toward that goal.


Filed Under:   Results & Execution
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Steve Borek   |   05 July 2012   |   Reply

I call these extraordinary goals. I take teams through a process where we achieve the unthinkable in 16 weeks.

It can be done.

Cindy   |   05 July 2012   |   Reply

I’ve always believed having fun at work is as important as completing the Goal. When teams believe in… and our personally excited accomplishing the goal becomes second nature to them. It starts and ends with the leader.. Great article thanks for the “Spark”

thepostic   |   06 July 2012   |   Reply

Have you read any of Jim Collins’ books? He is a management researcher and author who is most famous for works such as “Built to Last” and “Good to Great.” One thing I absolutely loved was his idea of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (or BHAGs). Essentially, he says that everyone (and every team/company/organization) should not be afraid to set BHAGs. It drives you to achieve more than you thought you could. Very similar to what you’re talking about here.

Love the post!

letsgrowleaders   |   06 July 2012   |   Reply

Yes, love Jim Collin’s work. I am a big fan of BHAGs. Thanks so much for joining the conversation!