CEO Corner


Do Higher Standards = An Even Stronger BNI Community?

By: Graham Weihmiller
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    CEO Corner

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    Graham Weihmiller

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Today, BNI Members are recognized globally as passionate, giving business professionals who define, enable, and achieve success through collaboration – not competition.  In BNI, we simply call it Givers Gain®.  In the last twelve months, our passion for collaboration produced 9 million referrals and over $14 billion USD in closed business for fellow BNI Members in 70 countries.  That’s an amazing amount, and it means businesses are growing, jobs are being created, families are achieving their dreams, and communities are being strengthened.  That’s terrific . . . but we’re just getting started.  We’re now working around the clock and investing more than ever in new tools, training and technology that will make YOU more successful than ever before.

As we strengthen and grow the global BNI Community, I’m often asked whether we should – together as a community – raise the standards for ourselves?  Would this make each of us more effective individually?  Could we impact the world even more?  Many within BNI would emphatically say “Yes!” 

So, what are some examples of standards we might together reconsider in BNI?

  • Initial Acceptance into BNI - Should we augment our screening process for prospective Members?  Should we better set expectations of new Members before they join?  Should we more thoughtfully assess their long-term commitment to BNI? 
  • Commitment to What BNI is All About - Should BNI Membership Committees expect more referrals and Closed Business from fellow Members before granting renewal?  Should they expect a higher level of commitment to BNI’s Core Values?  If we know it helps Members be more successful, should advanced training (ex: BNI’s Advanced Member Success Program) become the norm?   
  • Interaction Outside of Chapter Meetings – Should there be simple norms regarding responsiveness to fellow BNI Members (ex: returning emails or calls within 24 hours)?  Should Members prioritize referrals from Members over referrals they receive from non-BNI Members?
  • Buying in BNI – Should we all reaffirm an expectation that Members try to “Buy in BNI” before going outside of BNI?  Should BNI Members generally give other BNI Members their most favorable pricing and terms?
  • The Power of Global – Did you know BNI is the largest network of its kind in the world?  Should we establish simple expectations regarding how BNI Members should help Members from other BNI Chapters?  What about helping BNI Members from other countries?  Today, you might receive a lot of referrals from your Chapter.  Tomorrow, you might receive referrals from over 8,300 BNI chapters worldwide.   

Question: Does raising standards mean more rules?  No!  On the contrary, we are working to streamline processes and “rules” to enable BNI Members – and especially BNI Chapter Leadership Teams – to focus their time on what they do best – helping fellow BNI Members be wildly successful in business.

I’d really love your input on these topics.  If you have three (3) minutes, please take this short survey and I’ll report back on the results in next month’s SuccessNet. 

Lastly, as a brief follow-up to my article last month, I just wanted to thank you for your very kind calls and emails of support.  While there’s a long road to go, I’m happy to report that my father’s surgery went well and we hope to have him home within a few weeks.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  You are a terrific family for which I’m incredibly grateful!

Now, go out and achieve your most daring dreams . . . and then some.