BNI Leaders — How to Make Your BNI Chapter the Fastest Train on the Tracks
Great Leaders Lead with a BIG Vision
I was watching the president of a BNI Kansas City group as he was driving the chapter to becoming the “biggest chapter in the world.” He had a vision of what it could be, should be and voila:
He led it from 12 members to 100 people in the room (50 members, and 50+ visitors within 3 months. Ha, and they said it couldn’t be done. But now I’ve seen it happen over and over. Great leaders leading with a BIG visio, and they don’t let the nay sayers hold them back
Far too often BNI leaders let those that are the low performers set the pace, or those that don’t want to put the effort in that BNI has said was necessary. They just don’t want to play by the BNI rules..
A great leader leads with a great vision, and the results will follow. The problem is:
- BNI Leaders — Do you have a great vision? Are you leading your chapter to get where you want to be the fastest way, the most valuable way possible?
- BNI Members — Are you getting where you want to be as fast as you’d like? Help them move faster. You want to team up with those that have the same vision.
Here are some ideas that can help you do just that, and some beliefs and actions that othes before you had and did that got in their way of making that happen.
Frequently it’s “what we believe” and sometimes “what the members with the chapter believe” that either takes us to such heights, or holds us back.
Do you Slow Down to Get Everyone On Board, or Drive for a BIG Vision?
Something happened along the way to that big vision in our chapter. As Timothy was leading to this great vision, and had moved the chapter almost there, some within the chapter started complaining that they didn’t like to stand upin front of 100 (scary to some), or that they just couldn’t network with ALL of them before a meeting. Some said they did’t like to be bothered by the emails that Timothy was sending out to remind everyone to get their visitors for he week, and to motivate them, excite them. In other words they were asking us to slow this thing down. They were uncomfortable with where it had gotten.
So, in your opinion, was it working or not?
Our Options: Stop Doing What We Were Doing or Make People More Comfortable?
Well, while there were complaines, and some excuses being made as to why some were not getting results, some of us were seeing more business from BNI than we had ever seen. In fact, when we looked at the statistics, we had gotten about 4 referrals for every visitor. It was working for some of us that were playing by the BNI game plan, but not for others that thought the game plan was more of a burden than an asset.
Instead of slowing BNI down for those complaining, shouldn’t we be helping those that weren’t happy and not getting the results how they COULD be getting the results that some of us were getting? They just had to either learn how, or just maybe they would be more comfortable some place else.
In fact, that is what I do with the 6 Point Tune-Up program in my own chapter, and in the chapters that I advise on growth. I see who the high performers are, and help them become the GREAT leaders. They’ll lead this group to even higher heights.
Then I identify those who are the low performers and help them get what they originally expected from BNI, to help them get up to speed on what they have to do to play by the BNI game plan that many of us are reaping benefits from. However, there are always some that just don’t want to do it that way. Or put the effort into it.
In BNI, the great leaders lead with a great vision of what CAN be. And they can either lead out front, or they can slow down to make sure that everyone is comfortable. But when you slow down, all you have is a slow low performing BNI chapter, and that’s not what BNI is supposed to be.In fact, BNI is different from other forms of networking because we play by different If . Don’t try to look like the other forms of networking, or getting everyone on board by slowing down. Stay the leader in networking.
Here’s a picture I draw for some of my business coaching clients.
Fastest Train on the Tracks
If you have a vision that you are, or will become, the fastest train on the tracks, and let everyone know what that vision looks like or can become, then when your train shows up at the station you’ll have some people CHOOSING to get on, and some CHOOSING not to. In real life, people will want what you represent and choose you because they clearly see what you represent, or they will choose to go somewhere else. Becoming someone EVERYONE likes is usually an exercise in becoming wishy washy and no one really knows what you stand for.
Stand for something and let everyone know what that is. Some will love you for what you are, and some will pass you by. That’s a choice THEY are making. Your job isn’t to get the most people on board, it’s to get the most of the RIGHT people that will help you go where you want to go. You’ll actually get there faster.
The first thing you’ll notice is that when you say we are the fastest trian on the tracks when you pull into the station is that the high performers are the first ones to get on. They always want to get somewhere faster, bigger and better. They see the vision, buy into it and want to get there faster.
Not only will they get on this train because they clearly see and buy into what it stands for, but they will actually get behind the train where the leaders are pushing to help you make it go faster and faster. Most of these high performers are so driven that they’ll want to get there even faster and will be pushing you and the train to even higher heights. They are the people we want beside us on this train.
If you are using the 6 Point Tune-Up program these are the ones consistently hitting WAY’ above 6 points. Look for them. Either get them on your train, or jump on theirs.
Going for a Ride — Average Performers
The next type that will jump onto this train are those that want to GO FOR THE RIDE. They are mostly middle of the road, average performers. They also like the vision of the fastest train on the tracks. They too want to get there faster, but they aren’t putting up that extra effort to make it go any faster. They want to go for the ride. They are still valuable. They will pay for their seat on the train.
In the 6 Point Tune-Up program these are the ones that consistently get 6 points every month, just enough to stay on board. Occasionaly they may do more, but usually, they are at 4-5 points right up until the last week, and then kick it into gear to get their 6 points, the minimum that works for them and for BNI. They paid for their seat.
Now, we’ll still have two kinds left standing in the station.
Those That Don’t Like Fast Trains
The first are those that saw your vision, the fastest trian on the tracks, and don’t buy into that. Fast trains may scare them. They are more comfortable on slower trains. That’s OK. I’ll help them get what they want. In fact, I’ll give them the directions to the next slower train, and help them get what they want. If some accidentally got on the train and didn’t like it, I’ll help them catch the next slower train at the next station. (There’s always a chamber somewhere nearby.)
Keep in mind that IF you aren’t clear about your vision, then no one knows what you stand for. The high performers will never find you, and never get on. Even if you are a fast train they don’t know it. And the low performers may get on and start complaining about having to work at this.
There are some people who don’t want to be on your BNI train, that don’t see the effort that’s necessary to make BNI work as important to them. Help them either learn that it does work when, and if, they put the effort in to play by the BNI game plan, or help them find a slower train.
Develop a Clear Challengine Vision of What Is, or What Could Be
You leaders, develop a clear challenging vision, let everyone know what it looks like. That is the first step toward not only making your BNI the fastest train on the tracks, but getting the right people on the train, and the wrong people off the train. Let them know that you play by the BNI game plan, and that BNI provides the FASTEST train on the track, the fastest way to get where you want to be in your business.
Ask those on your station platform if they’d like this or not. Not everyone wants to play that way. Some may want to get there faster, but just believe that your way won’t work for them. That’s OK.
Let’s get back to the train station. We’ve still got one more type that we left standing in the station.
The Person Who Always Misses the Train
This person is the one that is always late. he’s the one that always has an excuse; there was always traffic,k car trouble, an appointment that ran late, etc. he’s always late, and always missing the train. It never SEEMS to be his fault, but he always, or very frequently missing the train.
Haven’t you seen some of these walk into a BNI meeting late over and over, a meeting running over. Gee why don’t the rest of us, very busy people, have that problem? We scheduled BNI as our highest priority.
A big mistake that many BNI leaders frequently make is that they believe that their job is “to make sure that everyone gets on their train.”
Please stop and think for a minute. If your vision is to have the fastest train on the tracks, to take your BNI partners to this great very valuable destination the fastest way you can, then what happens when you slow your train down to make sure that “everyone gets on?”
The Only Thing You’ll Have:
“the slowest train on the tracks.”
Strange how that works, isn’t it?
Feeling Guilty Turning Someone Away? Don’t! . . . Help Them Get What THEY Want
Frequently I hear BNI leades tell me that they feel guilty turning someone away from BNI, they just don’t like REJECTING people. They are letting everyone get on because of their own guilt. Those chapters are either not doing well, or have already failed.
Don’t feel guilty. Everyone has an option to play in other networking games, or get serious and get onto the fastest train on the tracks, BNI. This isn’t about getting everyone on board, it’s about getting those on board that will drive this train to its desintation faster, and doing it faster and better than any other form of networking out there. Don’t allow your BNI to degrade to being like every other networking group. People that like slower trains have a choice get on yours or find the slower train. Help them get what they want.
If you’ve been clear on your vision of having the fastest trian on the tracks, you shouldn’t feel guilty when someone doesn’t like your train. You should be helping everyone you meet get ‘what they want.”
- You can only attract and help the high performers when you provide something of the highest value to them. Therefore, provide thatwith the fastest train on the tracks. They won’t choose to join if tey see it like every other networking group. or, if they join and don’t get what they expected, “the fastest train on the tracks” they will get off fast. I’m sure you seen this happen.
- And, for those that don’t like fast trains, help them find the next slower train. For new people: send them to another networking groupother than BNI. They’ll like it better. Existing members: Help them learn to become a high performer, a fast mover on this fast train. After they’ve tried it,a nd still don’t like to do it that way, then help them find a slower tain where they’d be more comfortable.
Your vision, whether you are the fastest train on the tracks, or that you’ve got to get everyone on board will have a huge impact on whether your chapter succeeds, whether that chapter provides serious value to the members.
And do you know what else happens when you slow your trian down?
The high performers will get off because ths isn’t what they wanted, or they will never get on the train in the first place.
It may be easier, at first, to get more people onto a slow train, however, most will leae. As I said before, the high performers will be the first to get off, and get off fast when it doesn’t look like a fast train. And the low performers may stick around for a while with their hands out, but no one is pushing this train very fast. In fact, the lowest common denominator on this train continually moves toward lower and lower performers, fewer and fewer referrals from low performers. And the train stalls in the station, the engine dies.
In fact, a great book, “Good to Great” talks about how a Great leader gets the right people on the train, and gets the wrong people off FAST, and how other companies that play by letting everyone on the train either fail, or just become so-so.
Getting the right people on and the wrong people off faster, ultimately provides success faster, bigger, and better, and it also helps everyone even the low performers find an organization that fits their way of doing things.
So, BNI leaders, don’t feel guilty turning someone way that isn’t comfortable playing the way you do as a high performer. It’s OK. Look for high performers who like to network with other high performers and watch your train surge faster and faster.
So, let me ask several questions of leaders in BNI and some of BNI members.
- What kind of vision do you lead with?
- And are you slowing your train down to get everyone on board, or are you driving a fast train?
- Which train do you really want to be on?
- Are you choosing to network with a fast train (and helping push) or do you want a slow train?
- And even if you are already on a networking train, who are you choosing to network with, the fast movers, the high performers, the high value performers, or the slow movers, low performers.
Whether You are a Member. . . or a Leader — What is your vision . . . for You . . . and for the Chapter??
Make your vision clear, stand up for what you are or what you want to become, and where you are going. Then watch people of similar vision jump on with you, and even start to push that train faster and faster.
Here’s wishing that you become the fastest train on the tracks!@!!
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