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3HAGWAY book cover

Best Quotes from 3Hag Way by Shannon Byrne Susko

Best quotes on strategy and execution from serial entrepreneur

3HAGWAY book cover
When co-founder and CEO Shannon Byrne Susko's first company Paradata was floundering, she developed a plan to pull it out of its death dive. 

The methodology worked so well it became 3HAG WAY, a book and framework outlining how to reach a 3-year Highly Achievable Goal, on your way to your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a term coined by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in Built to Last). 

Here, some of the best quotes from 3HAG WAY. 

“If you don’t have an evolving growth strategy, then you and your team are just driving around the block. You may be doing well, but you’re not going anywhere.”

“It’s crucial that your company use a Strategic Execution System that connects its weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, near-term, and long-term goals. That..system is the 3HAG.”

“…three years is where the near term and the long term meet.”

“A five-year plan may actually be easier to write than a three-year plan; it’s easier to write precisely because it’s more of a guess than a plan – or as I like to call it, you 5 Year Wild-Ass Guess.”
“Your long term goal should drive your day to day activities.”

“At Paradata, facing a tough situation, we created the 3HAG in order to save the company.”

“I ended up betting my position as CEO on this framework, and it paid off in a big way."

“I eventually learned that the 3HAG is the opposite of what many CEOs do.”

“In many cases, CEOs are reluctant even to share their strategy with their team members.”

“In 1995 I cofounded my first company, Paradata, with a really good idea, a half-baked strategy, and what I call a ‘wild-ass guess’ about where we were headed.”

“I don’t want anyone to be as desperate as we were to grow a company and reach our goals.”

“We had to clearly map out where we were going or stop wasting people’s time and money.”

“Our first few business plans were traditional and full of wild-ass-guesses; in this new plan we mapped out quarter over quarter for 12 quarters and aligned it to our 10-30 year goal.”

“…in our very first quarter of business we had predicted exactly where we were going to be in quarter twelve, three years out.”

“When you’re just starting out, or even if you have been in business a long time, it can be overwhelming to sit down and plan where your company is going.“

“Who has time to strategise when you’re focused on executing?”

 “If the founder is in the room, have him or her simply answer why the company was started and give a reason for its existence. This could be the Core Purpose. “

“I’m a Patrick Lencioni junkie…the more I could learn about people and teams, the more successful I was.”

“If we had focused on the same customers as our competition, we would have failed.”

“The more a company competes to be unique, and not the best, the more likely it is to succeed.”

“Your 3HAG makes your BHAG believable. Your 3HAG is the stepping-stone to the end goal.”

“Making money is key.”

“I’ve found myself describing the 3HAG as the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

“I have observed that most companies do a great job on external analysis but are likely to take their internal processes for granted.”

“Knowing your core customer, right down to the individual, is not about marketing, per se. It’s about strategy.”

“You don’t make up a strategy; you and your team decide on a strategy that will put your company in a unique and valuable position through 3-5 differentiating actions.”

“One important realisation that often arises during this analysis is that team members may not know all that much about their competitors.”

“Being unique in your marketplace requires a sophisticated understanding of what your market actually looks like.”

“If you have confidence in your strategy – thanks to the fact that your position is valid – there is no reason not to talk with your competitors.”

“Buyers like predictability, teams like predictability, people like predictability.”

“Most companies have a twelve-month ‘budget’. This is a word that I never use or say.”

“A 36 month rolling forecast usually terrifies leadership teams.  Don’t let it!”

rolling forecast

“Most companies have a brand promise but do not guarantee the promise made.”

“Your secret sauce is the unique solution to a problem in your industry that no one wants to solve.”

“You and your team should never stop looking for the next Secret Sauce.”

“Letting competitors know your strategy is one thing; sharing your Secret Sauce is not recommended.”

“To outperform your competitors, you and your team must adopt a hedgehog mentality by devoting your energy, talent, and resources to the one thing you can be best at in the world.”

“Strategy creation is always in draft mode because the market you’re playing in does not stand still.”

“It is actually possible to enjoy your work when you’ve got clarity about what you’re doing and you’ve included the whole team.”

Shannon Byrne Susko describes how she saved her company, and created another from scratch, using the 3HAG way framework, in an interview with The Growth Faculty. 

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