Why your business’ success relies on a strong core

Let’s talk about the core of your business. Put simply, the core consists of three components: your values, your purpose and your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), the 10+ year goal that is going to push your business into the future.

Your core describes the foundations your long-term strategy for success. It’s the who, why, how and what of your business…

  • Who you are
  • Why you do what you do
  • How you do it, and
  • What difference you’re making in the world

By proactively establishing and maintaining a strong core, you’ll remove a lot of the ‘bumps in the road’ and experience a smoother ride on your scaling up journey. Let’s explore the three components.

Your Values

This is a set of shared beliefs or rules that describe ‘how things happen around here’. But these values need to be living – not just a set of generic words pasted on the wall. They must be genuine and alive in the organisation. Leadership in particular needs to walk the talk.  Best practise is to describe values in terms of behaviours, so people can relate to them.  

Take, for example, Google’s Core Values, which reflect the industry (and the company itself) – a bit less formal and more philosophical in nature…

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.
  • Democracy on the web works.
  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  • You can make money without doing evil.
  • There’s always more information out there.
  • The need for information crosses all borders.
  • You can be serious without a suit.
  • Great just isn’t good enough.

Your Purpose

Why do you do what you do? What difference are you making to the world?  Why do you and your team choose to devote your energy and creativity to this business? 

To really engage your team, your purpose needs to be beyond purely generating a financial return. It needs to go deeper, informing your strategy and helping you make key decisions. Ask the question, what are we deeply passionate about? And how can you tap into this with your purpose?

Many companies think they have a purpose, but they’re just words on a wall. Some will find employees do not even know what the purpose is.

Who Gives a Crap, an Australian toilet paper company, is a social enterprise founded with a strong purpose – to donate 50% of profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. Since their establishment with the assistance of crowd funding in 2013, the company has donated more than $10M AUD to projects that improve sanitation worldwide and build more toilets.

Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal is just that, BIG. It’s a 10+ year goal, designed to challenge your thinking beyond the incremental, and push you to greatness. It should feel exciting and scary in equal proportions – a good BHAG should feel perhaps 70-80% achievable.

The right BHAG will need no explanation – it will seem ‘obvious’ and inspire your team. There are three important questions will help you find it…

What are you deeply passionate about (your company’s core purpose)?

What can you be the best in the world at (figuratively – not the physical world – your world!)

What drives your economic engine (and of course the KPIs)?

One of the most notable and iconic BHAGs is President Kennedy’s famous declaration in 1961: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

The result, of course, after an extraordinary journey, was a historic moon landing in 1969. But imagine how audacious that goal must have been in 1961!

Some businesses are tempted to jump over the core, and go straight to the ‘hard’ elements of strategy.  Don’t fall into this trap. Setting your core and maintaining it vigorously will set the platform for scaling successfully.



Who Gives a Crap


Over the last 25 years, The Scaling Up Growth Platform has helped tens of thousands of CEO’s achieve their growth goals. The New Zealand based coaches of the Scaling Up Platform help NZ Businesses drive growth and scale.


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