Growing your Business

BNI Tools: The Traffic Lights

Submitted by Claudia Lowry, Executive Director, North & South Peninsula

BNI’s Member Traffic Lights (Power of One Report) and Chapter Traffic Lights are tools that are provided to help members analyse what’s working and what’s not working, and how we can make it better.

This concept is something that all business owners and professionals do in their businesses, usually when strategizing around growth or reviewing a past period.

The benefit of having this tools in BNI is that it becomes a goal setting system, to help members get the most out of their membership.

Solveig McCormick, Administrator at the BNI National Office has shared this analogy with us:

Visualise an aircraft preparing for Take Off.  

People buy tickets and arrive for check in. Fuel is loaded and luggage, freight and meals are loaded. Then the people board but as yet it is immobile. There is a flight plan but nothing is happening yet.Refer to this as being in the Grey Zone on the Traffic Lights.

Refer to this as the Red Zone.

Now there is the long climb to reach altitude and set course. A lot is happening. The air crew are hard at work taking care of the passengers and there is positive tension in the cock-pit. It takes a long time to reach cruising altitude. It takes a lot of fuel and have you ever noticed that the stewards and stewardesses are pushing the service trolleys uphill? Or bracing against the gradient from the other direction? 

This period of effort is the Amber Zone. (Amber is a warning light. One needs to be aware and cautious to avoid mishap.)

Finally the aircraft reaches cruising speed and the course is set. People relax, they have eaten, start visiting the amenities.  Out come the laptops; and in the cock-pit, auto-pilot is set while the flight crew relax a little and have a meal. The co-pilot updates his data.

But we are never out of danger. It takes as much work to stay in the green zone as it took to arrive there. This is where people relax and slip off their shoes and read books and forget for a while about the business of reaching a destination. There could be a storm or some cloud turbulence, or there could be a very slight course deviation that on a flight takes a good deal of correction to avoid intruding on the paths of other aircraft.

I have seen when monitoring the traffic lights that the brightest, the biggest and most sure chapters suddenly hit the slippery slope because they became complacent.

When a plane is into a bit of a nose dive it takes considerable skill and herculean effort to direct it back up again.

Chapters in the Green look like this:

  • All members arrive early
  • All members to at least one 121 per week
  • Members are proud to bring visitors, there are visitors at every meeting.
  • Members arrange and attend outside chapter events, such as mixers, dinners and regional events
  • Chapter participates in Business Open Days (Visitor Days)
  • Members have a supportive and friendly culture
  • Members exude high energy and a positive attitude
  • They enforce accountability but still have fun.
  • Members are making money and have a Givers Gain mindset.



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