My lifelong conviction is that creating and maintaining good relationships is the linchpin to having lasting success in this world, no matter in which arena. My long term commitment to this basic tenet is one of my most proud achievements. When I look back at my time playing professionally in the CFL, I can honestly say I worked hard to make sure every single bridge was left intact. Whether we are a pro athlete or a business person, heaps of talent or the best product or service will not be enough on their own. A strong commitment to community and its members is where the good stuff happens – including profitability!
Working the BNI structure as a member, and subsequently, BNI Director for 10 years gave me the confidence to know that BNI’s core values were not just lip service. When the opportunity to purchase BNI Canada presented itself, it was the perfect opportunity for me, to lead an organization filled with business people who also value developing meaningful, long-term relationships.
Here are some of the ways that I think about the BNI values:
People Are at the Heart of Networking
Be interested in everyone. As a professional athlete, I was always meeting new people and the opportunities that came about were always surprising. That is why Giver’s Gain style of relationship building is at the very core of BNI’s success structure, we never know who we’re going to meet –what they can do or who they know. Keep an open mind, take the time to get to know a person and put Giver’s Gain into practice.
Relationship Building is the Groundwork for Future Business Success
It can be tedious, uncompelling and just plain difficult to maintain relationships. But when we put the work in and build on the social component of our business, it becomes the groundwork for future success. Sometimes we just have to make those tough calls. Our future self will thank us for it!
A Positive and Supportive Attitude is Half the Battle
The reality is that most businesses don’t make it. Having a positive and supportive attitude does not replace the hard work, but it can help us cope more easily with daily tasks and pitfalls. When we’re heavy with worry and doubt, others can feel it. A positive attitude brings optimism into our life and attracts people to us –nurturing those important relationships! We all start at a tie 0-0. A positive attitude is the easiest leg up.
Take Stock by Measuring Results and Asking for Feedback
Ask yourself, “Are you getting good results?” How will you know? Self-evaluation is difficult, but so important. The first thing I did when I acquired BNI Canada was to hire business analyst, David Casseus to vet the whole company with a fresh set of eyes. Regular analysis does not necessarily mean extreme changes. Small, incremental adjustments to our business practices can create lasting change. Some of those changes could be simple, like being on time, being prepared, and being open to feedback, just to name a few.
BNI offers its members a rigour and mentorship that is missing in many other networking groups. We take stock of our one-to-one meetings, visitors, referrals and closed business. There is no guesswork involved. That’s our unique selling proposition. Encouragement is great, but feedback from a reputable source is profitable.
The BNI Networking Value for our Members
When our organization implements new tools to practice along side our traditional 25-point agenda that’s been the heart of BNI during our 30 year history, we’re raising the value for our members. Many times, businesses implement new systems haphazardly and ever worse, too fast. At BNI, we run a pilot test, adapt analysis; we start with clippers rather than taking a saw to drop the tree. BNI promises our members that we will stay true to our product, but adapt with the times.
That’s important in life, as well. Try to look at 100% of the picture, then tackle 3%. Life gets overwhelming, breaking it down and going one yard at a time helps. Stay true to your product, and stay true to who you are in your business. That’s the key.
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