What’s your Three-Year Highly Achievable Goal or a 3HAG?


As we’ve learned from Jim Collins, great companies have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). This is a ten to thirty year goal that inspires and grabs your people and drags you into the future. You probably have a BHAG yourself. Maybe yours isn’t as crystal clear as Kennedy’s “Send a man to the moon and bring him back safely” BHAG, but it’ll do. (And if you’d like to work on yours, get in touch!) A 3HAG is just as important for business growth!


The problem is, how do we take action now to reach a goal that far in the future, with so many unknowns between today and the goal. As Shannon Susko teaches in her book The 3HAG Way, many of us using Scaling Up tools such as the One Page Strategic Plan or something similar fill in that gap with a 5-WAG, a Five-Year Wild-Ass Guess! Sound familiar?

Her solution, which we love and now teach our clients, is the 3HAG, a Three-Year Highly Achievable Goal. Start by asking yourself, “Where do we want to be in three years?” If your answer is, “We’d like to be a $10 million company,” then throw that away and start again. Leave out the numbers. What do you want to be? The #1 retailer in your industry in your city or region? A player in a 2nd market for the first time? The dominant force in your whole country?

Notice how short these answers are. If your first try is more like a manifesto or lists 12 bullet points, don’t worry. It’ll get better the next time you revise it. Start talking about your 3HAG (or just call it a 3-year goal if you like) with your leadership team, partners, advisors or employees. Notice what lights them up. Notice which words and phrases are unnecessary and can be left off.

Where to start?

If you’d like to focus on the growth of your company guided by expert coaches, and supported by  other owners and CEOs, click here to learn more about our Velocity Circles, a 12-month program bringing mid-market tools for scaling and growth to smaller firms.


What’s your 3HAG?

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