It’s an Emotional Business
Someone once said that nothing great was ever achieved without passion and yet we very often ignore the power passion and emotion play in business. Being business-like often implies the absence of emotion. It implies cold, hard nosed logic and whilst there is much to be said for level headed rational thinking never underestimate the place that emotion has in a business and the power it brings with it.
From good to great
The person at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there. Great businesses and inspiring enterprises don’t happen by accident. Somehow somewhere there needs to be a desire to create it in the first place and desire is, after all, an emotion. The drive to go from good to great is fuelled by a series of emotions so strong they become imperatives.
Humans are emotional beings who can do some logic. We are not logical beings who sometimes do emotions. Most of our driving forces are emotionally based and that is why a level of emotional literacy is so essential in any leader. We need to understand the emotional forces at play in any situation.
Nothing great was ever achieved without passion
It seems to me that very often at the start up stage of a business the emotional motivators are often very apparent. “I just wanted to prove there was a better way of doing X”, or “I wanted to look after the customers better”, or “We wanted to change the way people thought of our profession” but as businesses grow, these emotional forces are often ignored, forgotten or buried and yet we know that nothing great was ever achieved without passion.
What is your BHAG?
In his book “Good to Great” Jim Collins identified that those businesses who transitioned from good to great all had one thing in common. He called it a BHAG, a term he trademarked. BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Now some people use the term vision but a BHAG is quite specific. It is almost the dream beyond the dream. It is 10 to 30 years out, challenges the business to greatness and is so massive that we can’t really plan to achieve it. It has been likened to the north star which we can never reach but guides us every day and is always in our mind.
Challenging the world to greatness
A good BHAG will have a very strong emotional pull as did Apple’s of putting a dent in the universe, Starbucks’ of being the number one consumer brand on the planet and so will act as a north star for those individual organisations. Think of the emotional pull of JFK’s BHAG for the USA of putting a man on the moon and bringing him safely back to earth. Think of how that challenged the world to greatness and caused us to invent things that previously could not even have been conceived of.
A good BHAG will act as the keystone which locks together those other fundamentals of a business, Core Values and Core Purpose, which also have a very strong emotional pull to them.
So, what is your firms BHAG? Do you have one? Without a north star mankind could never have navigated the globe. Without your own powerful BHAG how difficult are you making the job of navigating the world of business? However, if you have set the direction and provided a north star to navigate by your team can find their own way forward with or without you and the more emotionally compelling the destination the more self-motivated your team will be to get there.
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