Real SMB IT: BHAGS or Baby Steps?

June 24, 2009


Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Jonathan Fields dives into a great comparison of goal setting via James Collins’ BHAG‘s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) vs. more incremental Baby Steps in this post titled; Goalsetting Smackdown: Big Hairy Audacious vs Baby Steps

He prefers BHAG’s – follow the link to read more!

But First…….

I have to make a preface here! If you are a dozen people in a dorm or basement intent on generating revenue directly through technology by inventing the Next Big Thing, or building that killer iPhone app the world does not know it needs yet, this is not for you.

Because in that type of environment you have (by default!) set your sights on that Big Hairy Audacious goal, the Game Changer! the World Beater!

But for the majority of us in the SME space?

Well, we run on a continuum from fairly low technical maturity where technology is just to run accounting and E-Mail, to higher maturity levels where technology is used to enable and improve business processes. Either by assisting in revenue generation or reducing costs.

In our case, we are not trying to invent the next Twitter or Friendfeed.

Sure – We want to beat the world too – but by reducing cost of sales, getting word of our product or service out there. And reducing our SG&A.

And in our IT Goal setting, do we want BHAG’s or baby steps?

Well – Here is one warning with BHAG’s when it comes to IT goals.

The effects of change on both business and IT processes from any change in your IT and IT strategy are not linear. Like mortgage interest, they are compounded.

And like compounded interest, a little change can have some big time effects. And larger changes? if you change X Y and Z all at once, odds are that something is going to break, and as 80% of outages and IT related downtime is just finding out what broke. Well you see the risk.

Sure Keep Your Eye on the Prize!

Maybe that goal, or that prize is a BHAG – a Game Changer.

But I recommend you get to it by baby steps. Or as I have called it before, Learn To Dance.

Step, Pause, Adjust, then step again.

Enough from me – which do you prefer?

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Photo Credit NASA


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