At ViRTUS our Wildly Courageous Decision (WCD) is to become the Apple of the consulting world. I’ve been asked numerous times to go into more detail about the process of defining a WCD.
First off, the Wildly Courageous Decision is actually a blend of two different concepts: the Wildly Important Goal (WIG) from Stephen Covey’s book the 8th Habit and the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) from Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great.
In crafting your WCD there are five different methods that work tend to best:
- compared to competition (Avis decided they wanted to be second to Hertz)
- compared to an absolute (The Seattle Pike Place Fish Market decided they wanted to be world famous)
- compared to an industry (We will become the leading/most admired/fastest/cheapest provider of X in the packaged goods industry)
- compared to a company you admire (ViRTUS is becoming the Apple of the consulting world)
- compared to a parent company (We will be the fastest growing/most profitable/more admired/leading brand of GE).
Here are the five criteria of a BHAG which also apply to a WCD:
- Are set with understanding, not bravado.
- Fit squarely in the three circles of your Hedgehog Concept.
- Have a long time frame—10 to 30 years.
- Are clear, compelling and easy to grasp.
- Directly reflect your core values and core purpose.
It took us a number of tries before we came up with a WCD that the entire team could rally around. The first two just weren’t inspiring us to move in the long term direction we wanted. As an entrepreneur I really had to ask myself this question as the final test of our WCD: “Am I willing to spend the next 10 to 30 years of my life to achieve this Wildly Courageous Decision?”