What is your Pinnacle? Jeff Chastain March 9, 2021

What is your Pinnacle?

The word Pinnacle is defined as the highest or most successful point. Looking at it from a mountain climbing perspective, it is the top peak of the mountain that climbers are attempting to reach. And this is not just a little hill – this is the biggest mountain ever. The climbers are excited but at the same time a little nervous about the journey ahead.

Putting this in business terms, Jim Collins describes it as the BHAG – your big, hairy, audacious goal. When your team hears it, it should take a moment to set in and wrap your arms around because it is so far out there. It is exciting, yet they are not quite sure how in the world they can achieve it.

See if you can recognize any of these examples …

  1. Become the most recognized & respected consumer brand in the world
  2. Every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds
  3. A computer on every desk in every home

Here are the answers to check guesses …

  1. Starbucks
  2. Amazon
  3. Microsoft

Today as we sit at our desks with a couple of computers and a smartphone all at arms distance, the idea of a computer on every desk in every home does not sound like that big of a deal. However, Bill Gates and Paul Allen had this vision for Microsoft 40 years ago!

Do we really need this?

But we are not Microsoft or Amazon, right? Do we really need this?

Suppose, for instance, you are a new college graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering. You are faced with two options upon graduation:

  1. A major industrial giant where you will be working on and running a production line for the next 50 years.
  2. SpaceX where their pinnacle, their mission is to launch people to Mars.

Which one would you choose? One company has a huge, audacious goal that is attractive. The other is just a “job.”

This applies at all levels. Size is immaterial here – the goal might be to travel to Mars, or it might be to feed the homeless in the local community. Both are noble goals and really describe the answer to “why” you are in business.

Your “why” should be more than just to sell burgers, IT services, etc. You need a mission that your team can unite behind, feel challenged by, and feel a part of.

What is your pinnacle?

If you don’t have a goal you are shooting for, how will you ever know if you have reached it? (hint, you probably won’t!)

Imagine running a race without knowing where the finish line was or having a timer running to see how fast you complete the race? In other words, you are out for a jog … day after day with no end in sight.

So how do you go about figuring out your why – your pinnacle if you don’t have one?

First, start off by stepping out of the business. Maybe it is simply a long lunch with your leadership team. Maybe it is an off-site retreat. The key is stepping back so that you can see the forest for the trees.

Next, brainstorm as a team on the question … what would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?

Don’t overthink this, but take some time to really think on this and see if you can come together as a team on something that really gets you excited.