Big Hairy Audacious Goal for Legal Blogs and LexBlog

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Ask anyone who talks to me, and you’ll hear that I am anxious to establish a big hairy audacious goal for LexBlog.

LexBlog started with the goal of bringing blogs to the law as a way for lawyers to development business in a manner superior to advertising, websites and SEO. We’d charged $200 a month for a professional turnkey blog solution as a business model.

Most everyone thought us nuts. Lawyers would never use blogs. Plus, blog publishing platforms were free.

We followed it up with the goal of launching at least new thirty new blogs a month and landing one-third of the AmLaw 200 law firms, the largest publishers, as customers.

We achieved those goals within about five years.

Six years ago ago, we built a managed WordPress platform for the law upon which we could install core upgrades and features on a never ending basis to all sites at once. Took over two plus years and at a cost approaching a million dollars (a large sum for a small company).

Since then we really haven’t had a big hairy audacious goal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We’re run a successful business employing a lot of people and feeding a lot families.

We’ve developed excellent publishing software and strengthened LexBlog as far as being a strong publishing partner to law firms and other organizations.

We’re helping lawyers, worldwide, build reputations and relationships, they would not otherwise have.

It feels time though for LexBlog to a have big hairy audacious goal – for a number of reasons.

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG is a concept developed in Jim Collin’s book, Built to Last, as a powerful way to stimulate progress.

Per Collins,

“A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both building for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?”

An example of a BHAG from his book.

Put yourself in the shoes of Boeing’s management team in 1952. Your engineers have the idea to build a large jet aircraft for the commercial market. Your company has virtually no presence in the commercial market and your earlier commercial attempts have been failures. You’ve been building aircraft primarily for the military (B-17 Flying Fortress, B-29 Superfortress, B-52 jet bomber) and four-fifths of your business comes from one customer—the Air Force. Furthermore, your sales force reports that commercial airlines in both the United States and Europe have expressed little interest in the idea of a commercial jet from Boeing. The airlines have an anti-Boeing bias—a “they build great bombers, period” attitude. No other aircraft company has proved that there is a commercial market for jet aircraft. Rival Douglas Aircraft believes that propeller-driven planes will continue to dominate the commercial market. Your company still has memories of the painful layoffs from fifty-one thousand employees down to seventy-five hundred after the end of World War II. And, for the clincher, you estimate that it will cost about three times your average annual after-tax profit for the past five years—roughly a quarter of your entire corporate net worth—to develop a prototype for the jet. 

What should you do? If you’re Boeing’s management, you defy the odds and commit to the audacious goal of establishing yourself as a major player in the commercial aircraft industry. You build the jet. You call it the 707. And you bring the commercial world into the jet age.

A BHAG engages a team and brings focus.

Like the moon mission, a true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort—often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines. A BHAG engages people—it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People “get it” right away; it takes little or no explanation.

And the BHAG is easy to grasp.

The moon mission didn’t need a committee to spend endless hours wordsmithing the goal into a verbose, meaningless, impossible-to-remember “mission statement.” No, the goal itself—the mountain to climb—was so easy to grasp, so compelling in its own right, that it could be said one hundred different ways, yet easily understood by everyone. When an expedition sets out to climb Mount Everest, it doesn’t need a three-page, convoluted “mission statement” to explain what Mount Everest is. … Most corporate statements we’ve seen do little to provoke forward movement (although some do help to preserve the core). To stimulate progress, however, we encourage you to think beyond the traditional corporate statement and consider the powerful mechanism of a BHAG. BHAGs are bold, falling in the gray area where reason and prudence might say “This is unreasonable,” but the drive for progress says, “We believe we can do it nonetheless.” Again, these aren’t just “goals”; these are Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

A BHAG for LexBlog?

All legal blogs, worldwide, in the LexBlog Community

  • Publishing on LexBlog’s managed WordPress solution or not, it’s free
  • All legal blogs “indexed and profiled” by publication, contributor, organization and association

Without detailing them now, I can see multiple benefits to legal professionals and the general public with such a community focused on inspiring and empowering the independent legal publisher.

Understand too that Bill Boeing could not have envisioned the impact commercial air travel would have on society when he was sitting in his Seattle office at Second and Cherry, seventy years ago. Understand, I am certainly no Bill Boeing.

I don’t see LexBlog leaving beyond what we’ve started – at all.

As our VP, Greg Storey, who heads products and operations says, we‘re merely moving the North Star – the beacon that signals where we are headed out a lot further. Too accomplish more, a greater good.

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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