Reaching for the Moon

July 23, 2013


Successful Interns & New Hires Set Big Goals

Forty-four years ago this past weekend, Neil Armstrong stepped upon the surface of the moon, achieving a goal first set by President John Kennedy. Seven years earlier, in a speech at Rice University, Kennedy stated:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Decades later, James Collins and Jerry Porras cited Kennedy’s call to land a man on the moon within a decade as the perfect example of a BHAG—a big, hairy, audacious goal. In their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Collins and Porras argued that leading companies are propelled to greatness by emotionally compelling goals. Leaders who set BHAGs encourage a near singular focus on the accomplishment of that one goal. Whole organizations are less easily diverted by day-to-day distractions.

Goal-setting is among the most important time management tools any new professional can hone. And it turns out that individuals need BHAGs, too. If you’re a summer associate, intern or new hire, set aside some time this week and think about your own big, hairy audacious goal. What is it that you wish to accomplish in life? How do you want to change the world? How big can you dream?

In the history of mankind, nothing has ever been accomplished that did begin as someone’s dream. Dream big!

What Do You Need to Know?

Among the goals you set for yourself, create at least one big, hairy, audacious goal.



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