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Making the impossible possible!

The UK Environmental Minister, Michael Gove, recently announced that Briton will ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.  23 years sounds a long time away, but the move to electric cars and vans will take many years to achieve. 

Car Companies need to move forward on electric innovation and the development of technology, charging stations need to be incorporated into the landscape and finally the population mentality needs to change in line with the Governments vision.    Electric cars currently account for less than 5 percent of new car registrations in Britain, with drivers concerned about the cost and limited availability of charging points and manufacturers worried about making expensive investments before the demand is there.  The statement from the Government was therefore a huge step towards the protection of the environment.

What is important here is that the UK have announced a date and committed to significant change in mindset.  By doing this they are already half way there to making it happen. Without the vision and commitment, then big, life changing events do not happen. Who can forget John F Kennedy’s famous 1961 speech “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth”, by committing to this achievement both financially and verbally, man landed on the moon in 1969 with the eyes of the world watching.

It’s so important to have a long term vision that you can passionately head towards, not listening to or distracted by those that say impossible.  You just have to look at Dubai to see how the power of a leaders vision can make amazing things happen. 

In his Book “Reflections of Happiness and Positivity”, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai gives many examples of how Dubai grew and developed in the past 47 years, with an excellent example of why they build the iconic World Trade Centre building in the middle of “sand and desert, far away from any other landmark or main road in Dubai”. The vision was “not solely to build a tower, but rather to develop an entire area”.  And today, the building is nestled amongst many skyscrapers as well as the world’s tallest building, another example of a leaders vision becoming reality.

So how do you do you put this vision into your business?  In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins identified that great Companies had a goal that pursued through time that is challenging that they may not know how they were going to accomplish it, but were so inspired to figure this out successfully.  He referred to this goal as their “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” or BHAG™ for short.

A BHAG™ gets you and your teams “juices flowing”, gives them purpose and a vision to head towards.  Your BHAG™ should drive the Company through its strategy within a long term time window, recommended to be between 10 and 30 years.

It should sound so challenging that you when you decide it you have no idea how it’s going to be achieved.  It should inspire innovation, competitiveness and challenges you and your team to greatness.  A BHAG™ can be long or short, but should be clear so that everyone is behind and pushing towards the end game.  Here are a few examples of famous BHAG’s:

  • Crush Adidas - Nike
  • Become a $125 billion company by year 2000 - Wal-Mart
  • Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online – Amazon

Inspiring stuff!  Think of your Company BHAG™ as your Company’s guiding star, the point ahead of you that guides and defines your strategy.  Any business strategies that do, not in the long term, help you get towards your BHAG™ should be questioned to make sure you are not distracted away from where you and the Company are heading.

Moving to electric cars and vans by 2040 is an inspirational BHAG™ for the UK Government.  How they are going to achieve this will require them to engage many industries and as well as the population who need to get rid of they petrol and diesel cars and purchase electric cars.  The Government are going to have to work hard and collaboratively to achieve this, but it is achievable.

A final quote from HM Sheik Mohammed, “Always start with the final image in mind, and be positive and confident in your ability to transform it into reality”. 

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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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