When we join BNI, we commit to serving the Chapter and our fellow members. But this really should be viewed less as a commitment and more of an opportunity and privilege. BNI members who have served with distinction understand and truly believe that. When serving the Chapter, we are given the opportunity for more visibility, the opportunity to show that we truly understand the philosophy of “Givers Gain®“, and the opportunity to display our talents and skills. All of these opportunities, if fully embraced, can only lead to better referrals and more of them, and a continually healthy culture.
Serving the Chapter does require that we understand our role and utilise the well-evolved BNI system though, including its policies and procedures. These policies and procedures are in place to ensure the most effective management of the Chapter, and this includes the protection of those who follow them.
Leadership Teams and Membership Committees have the autonomy to set the culture and feel of their room and are encouraged to do so, provided they remain within the framework of the BNI Mission and the BNI Chapter Charter. Sometimes in doing this, new ideas are pondered, and variations of current policies and procedures are considered. With a 34-year-old system that has undergone constant refinement and improvement, straying from the current policies and procedures is inadvisable.
One of the BNI core values is “Traditions & Innovation”. This translates to us continuing to do what we know works and is the masses’ best interest, while still allowing for change, evolution, and consideration of new ideas and concepts. Being as the two could be thought to be in conflict, how do we go about managing them.
When taking on a role, part of the responsibility is agreeing to work in a collaborative manner with your BNI Directors and BNI Ambassador(s). Ambassadors are there to support and assist new members during their first 12 months of membership, while Director Consultants are the ones who can help traverse the web of new ideas and assist with implementation.
In considering any new ideas or strategies, your Director Consultant will take into account things such as what has proven to work (or not work) in the past, is it “on mission”, what BNI is obligated to adhere to, and the protection of all members, including those in Leadership or Committee positions.
If you’re in a Leadership or Committee position, making sure you have a great relationship with your Director Consultant will ensure your Chapter is consistently kicking goals.