The Art of Linking Everyday Actions to Big Goals

AdVance Leadership » The Art of Linking Everyday Actions to Big Goals

Before we begin this week’s Friday 411, we want to share exciting news: 

AdVance Leadership was just named Top 20 Leadership Development Companies by HR Tech Outlook. We’ll be featured on the cover of their May issue. 🎊

Thank you for being an unleashed leader who wants to improve the lives of everyone you influence. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Welcome to Friday 411, issue #065. In 4 minutes, with 1 insight and 1 action, you’ll learn how to recognize your employees’ everyday actions that drive the long-term goals of the organization.

1 Insight

Leaders should pay attention to your team’s mundane tasks that add up to the accomplishment of your organization’s biggest goals.

One of the surest ways for you to create both clarity and consistency in your team is by developing a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. Jim Collins popularized BHAGs in his insightful book Good to Great.
BHAG establishes a single, focused, long-term goal that drives all of the projects, plans, and activities for your business. At AdVance Leadership, our Unleashed Leadership training programs include helping leaders at all levels identify their BHAG. (If you want to find out more about how we can help you do that, contact us to set up a free consultation.)

The Challenge of the BHAG

Leaders experience a common challenge when they create a BHAG: employees don’t always understand how their “everyday” actions drive the BHAG forward.
The reality is, no team accomplishes the BHAG in a single day. It takes multitudes of small actions, repeated over and over again, for a team to accomplish a gargantuan goal.
We call this phenomenon the Mundane-to-Magnificent ParadoxDoing simple, mundane tasks consistently leads to magnificent achievements, even though these tasks themselves never seem grand. Because those actions can feel trivial, employees (and leaders) often minimize their significance.
When employees feel like their work is insignificant, potentially disastrous results emerge:

  1. Lower Motivation: They might not feel excited about their work.
  2. Less Productivity: If the work seems pointless, they may do less.
  3. Poor Morale: They might not feel happy or satisfied at work.
  4. Higher Turnover: Employees might leave the company to find meaningful work.
  5. Poorer Teamwork: If they don’t see the point, they might not work well with others.
  6. Reduced Quality of Work: They might not do their best work.
  7. Less Creativity: With a sense of unimportance, they might not think of new ideas.

The BHAG Link

We’ve created a simple tool that you, as a leader, can utilize to show people how their minor actions are critical. It’s called the BHAG Link.
Imagine that you have two links in a chain.

  • One of those links is the BHAG.
  • The other link is the mundane activities that workers do. These are the activities that people believe are pointless.

Most employees don’t connect the two links. But you can do this for your employees. The BHAG Link helps people “link” how their routine activities move your team closer to the BHAG.
To use the BHAG Link, observe what people are doing and describe how that action is driving them toward the BHAG.

A BHAG Link Example

Imagine you manage a widget manufacturing plant. Your BHAG is to increase production from 2,000 widgets per hour to 5,000 widgets per hour. One of the assembly workers, Joel, sees a minor tweak that helps you create 15 more widgets per hour.
At first, 15 widgets might seem insignificant. But you only need 200 more small improvements like Joel’s to make the leap to 5,000 widgets every hour. That incremental step moved your team toward the BHAG.
Here’s what a BHAG Link could sound like: “Joel, thank you so much for discovering the tweak that helped us produce 15 more widgets every hour. Your action moved us toward our BHAG of creating 5,000 widgets per hour by increasing our production.”
Notice how you’ve created a double spotlight opportunity: you’re shining a light on Joel and illuminating the BHAG.
If you break down the BHAG Link, you’ll find four parts:

  1. Appreciation – you thanked Joel.
  2. Action – you pointed out the mundane action that Joel did. In this case, it’s “discovering the tweak that helped us produce 15 more widgets every hour.”
  3. Reminder – you reminded Joel (and anyone else listening) of the BHAG: to create 5,000 widgets per hour.
  4. Reason – you expressed the reason the behavior helped. In this case the reason is very easy to see, but it’s not always that obvious.


When you consistently use the BHAG Link you:

  • Recognize mundane tasks that add up to magnificent results.
  • Remind people of your most important goal.
  • Demonstrate how daily actions can add up.
  • Infuse enthusiasm as daily victories culminate in long-term outcomes.

1 Action

Use the BHAG Link template to praise at least one person this week: Thank you for doing SPECIFIC ACTION. That ACTION helped us moved toward our BHAG because it REASON.


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