Leadership and collaboration: The driving force behind BNI Evolve.
BNI Evolve has experienced a renaissance as the No. 1 BNI chapter in South Australia (as at 30 November 2023), and recently took out Showcase Chapter of the Year at BNI Adelaide CBD & South’s regional awards, a testament to the visionary leadership who orchestrated a remarkable turnaround. We chatted with the (immediate past) leadership team at the helm during the previous 12 months: President Stephanie Tuominen, Vice President Alfredo Cabada, and Secretary/Treasurer Brian Sayers about their strategies to propel their chapter to success.
Getting back to BNI basics.
The team embarked on a mission to dissect the existing challenges and reimagine the future of BNI Evolve. The first imperative was a return to the foundational principles embedded in the BNI structure. Reintroducing elements previously overlooked became a cornerstone in revitalising the chapter’s identity.
Central to this transformation was a deliberate cultural shift to make it more inviting, engaging, participative, and transparent. The simple approach of making the chapter’s traffic lights available provided members with real-time updates on their activity and contribution, fostering a culture of accountability and igniting a renewed sense of engagement.
To stimulate chapter growth, the leadership team adopted a multifaceted approach with an emphasis on boosting visitor numbers. The introduction of themed visitor days, strategically aligned with enjoyable events, also marked a turning point. Throughout this process, the Visitor Host team leader, AQ, emerged as a linchpin in turning around their visitor experience by ensuring a warm and positive welcome for every visitor.
Lessons learnt and leadership.
Learning from the experiences of the past president, VP Alfredo also engaged with external experts like BNI Advantage’s Priya-Marie Robert. The leadership team learned from and forged alliances with Advantage members, tapping into a wealth of collective wisdom to fuel their growth strategies.
The commitment to the chapter extended beyond the weekly meetings. Monthly leadership dinners and weekly huddles strengthened their leadership bonds, creating a united front that radiated positivity and camaraderie, influencing the chapter’s culture profoundly.
Setting goals and impressive results.
Setting clear goals and a compelling vision was another pivotal aspect of BNI Evolve’s transformation. Undeterred by challenges, the leadership team set ambitious targets, envisioning 35 members and a marked increase in Thank You For Closed Business (TYFCB) by December. The chapter made significant strides toward these goals, consistently achieving impressive weekly TYFCB numbers.
Addressing diversity and inclusion, the team consciously worked towards increasing female membership. Steph’s leadership contributed to a more balanced and welcoming environment. The result? A notable increase in female membership from 13% to an impressive 34%.
Despite some tough decisions, such as declining a few applications, the team navigated challenges with diplomacy and resilience. The introduction of awards and recognitions, including the President’s Award, the President’s lunches for newbies, and acknowledgment of the sponsoring member during new member induction, added a layer of appreciation to the chapter’s culture.
Regional commitment to ongoing success.
The BNI regional support team of Managing Director Sonya Noonan, Chapter Director Julian Robins, and Ambassador Enya Crockford’s presence at Chapter Success Meetings, attendance throughout the month, and One-to-One meetings with members demonstrated BNI Adelaide CBD & South’s commitment to their growth and prosperity.
As the chapter’s success story continues, BNI Evolve remains a beacon of inspiration within the BNI network. The lessons gleaned from their journey serve as a roadmap for other BNI chapters, illustrating the transformative power of strategic leadership, collaboration, transparency, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.