3hag business ceo coaching growth habits leadership success Nov 01, 2017

When it comes to strategy most are looking for the “Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs”!! All the time!!  Well the 3HAG is my goose that lays Golden Eggs every time for my own companies as well as my client’s companies.  A 3HAG is the strategic execution system that drives confidence in predicting the future growth of your company and then making it happen. 


 As many of you have heard, 3HAG is a concept that is gaining a lot of exposure these days!  Those who have welcomed this method and used it in their  strategic planning and execution process have seen incredible success in their companies.  They found their Golden Goose.   


 CEO’s know that you need more than a 10-30 Year goal (BHAG). You also need a “golden stepping stone” that will align your companies path  in driving to the BHAG. This is where the 3HAG comes in.  From my own personal experience, creating a 3HAG and using it has been a game-changer in increasing confidence and establishing a company’s unique and valuable position so they are not competing to be the best but competing to be unique on their own dimension in the market. Where their core customer buys for a profit – often.   Recently I had the opportunity to speak about 3HAG with Bill Gallagher on his podcast, Scaling Up Business. I encourage you to listen here, and read on for more insight on why 3HAG is ESSENTIAL for your company’s strategic success!  

When working with so many CEOs, leaders and entrepreneurs – I ask if they have predicted where they will be specifically in 3 years for their company.  99% say “NO!”  I ask “Why?”  The Answer – they do not want to be wrong. Its hard to be accurate.  No one wants to be wrong!!  No kidding.  But if you don’t write something down with your team its really hard to know where your going. No one gets in on a bus today with their team and know where the destination is and where the stops along the way are.   If in 10 years you have a goal(BHAG)  – you need to know what the golden stepping stone is in 3 years you need to achieve in order to get to the 10 years goal.  This makes your BHAG real and most important to the team – real believable.   


If we were going to achieve our BHAG and provide this solution for our partners, we had to get very, VERY clear on our strategy to achieve this goal. In order to do this, we needed to take this complex strategy and simplify it by establishing our 3 Year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG).  We achieved this clarity through the process outlined below with our leadership team:   


Step 1: Gut it Out – Define what your 3-Year HighlyAchievable Goal is.

Step 2: Key Process Flow Map – Internal Operational Analysis. For a video explaining this analysis, watch here

Step 3: The Map  – External Market Analysis (Download The Map, featured in Chapter 2 of The Metronome Effect, here)

Step 4: Core Customer – know your customer right down to the person. WHO is going to buy from you at a profit?

Step 5: Attribution Framework – Find your “white space” with the help from this video

Step 6: Activity Fit Map- Level 1  – Map out your Differentiating Activities (below is an example of Southwest Airline’s Activity Fit map)


Step 7: One Phrase Strategy  – Put your business’s strategy into one single Phrase

Step 8: Activity Fit Map – Level  2 – Map out your supporting Differentiating Activities (below is an example of Southwest Airline’s Activity Fit map)



Step 9: DIVE into 12 Quarter Swim Lanes – plan out your march for 12 quarters to execute your differentiating activities to your unique and valuable position. 

Step 10: Work out your 36 Month-Over-Month P&L – start at a high level and build a 36 month “widget” based forecast and then each quarter get more and more detailed at the company grows. This is a really challenging step but like anything rewarding, this is worth it!

Step 11/1: Confirm your 3HAG  


As a coach of CEOs of high growth companies and as a CEO myself, I have learned that all CEOs have a strategy. The question is, can each every one of those CEOS take their complex strategy and articulate it clear and simply?   The 3HAG is a strategic growth framework  that takes a complex strategy of any company and makes it clear and simple. Ask yourself – whether you are CEO or not – can you say your company’s strategy in one sentence or one phrase – one word? Do you have confidence in your company’s strategy to stand up with your peers and clearly state your strategy? You will if you get clear on your 3HAG – its easy to start and  then never stop the  process of a consistent discussions with all your leaders and team members.   


Thank you to everyone who attended the Fall 2017 Scale Up Coaches Summit and attended my breakout session on 3HAG. For my future  events  and  3HAG workshops, please go to