As an organisation that exercises efficiency as part of its successful structure, it may appear wise to run through some general “housekeeping” before the end of the weekly meeting. However, thirty-three years of BNI evolution provide us with the knowledge that the weekly meeting is not a suitable time to be raising these items.
What is “Housekeeping”?
“Housekeeping” may incorporate suggestions for improvement, organisation of social events, opportunities for members to raise topics, or a multitude of other potential items that don’t form part of the official BNI twenty-point agenda. However, there are twenty points on that official BNI Agenda for very good reasons. The overarching reason being that the twenty points in the agenda are proven to be the points that need to be included for the meeting to have the best chance of running perfectly. The agenda works as well it does due to the points that aren’t on that agenda, as it does thanks to the points that are.
When do we raise these items?
There are specific channels at members’ disposal to raise anything BNI related in the right manner. If it’s related to the visitor experience, the Visitor Host Coordinator can be approached outside the meeting times. Social event organisation can be coordinated by email and social media by the Growth Coordinator (although some chapters have a specific Social Events Coordinator or team). Grievances between members are to be handled between the members concerned in the first place, and referred to the Membership Committee only if a mutually acceptable outcome can’t be reached between the parties involved. Non-member grievances can be raised with the Vice-President or anyone on the Membership Committee.
Why wouldn’t we include housekeeping in the meeting?
Although it may seem more efficient to handle these matters while we have everyone’s attention in the meeting room, we need to keep in mind that the meeting isn’t actually for us members. You’d remember from my blog on August 13th that the meeting is for the visitors. Visitors are how we grow our Chapters, so their experience is paramount. Even visitors who don’t join can become valuable customers of our Chapter members, but only if they’ve had an exceptional experience when they attend.
Many visitors continue to network after Visitor Orientation, and when the meeting ends as intended (i.e. on a positive quote), they walk back into a high energy environment. However, “housekeeping” usually ends up substantially lowering the energy in the room which isn’t surprising, since items which need to be discussed “behind closed doors” virtually always create a negative vibe with some people in the group.