BNI is both conscious and deliberate about serving the greater good by helping businesses around the world to create a culture of collaboration in business. Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI says: “An organization needs a sound strategy to succeed but, it needs a great culture to excel. For me, that approach has been about creating core values around a culture of collaboration. I believe that it is possible to make a good living while serving a greater good. The core values I have tried to apply in my life and in my business have helped to create a culture of collaboration within the context of building a business. This approach is not only a great way to get business, I believe it is an even better way to do business.”
Reflect on BNI’s seven core values and see how they relate to your experiences as a BNI member. Members who know what our values are, understand that we are driven by common values that inform the ways in which our commitment, and all instituted procedure, and ongoing education is positioned and executed in order to result in our members’ success.
One: Giver’s Gain
Giver’s Gain embodies the law of reciprocity – the application of which, one way or another, is found in every culture. It states that if we help others, they will in turn help us; or what goes around comes around; or do to others as you would have them do to you. Giver’s gain involves really paying attention to the needs of others. Giver’s Gain is not a game of solitaire and can only be practiced by surrounding ourselves with others who behave likewise. If a BNI chapter truly adopts Giver’s Gain they will truly be on the way to changing the way the world does business.
Two: Building Meaningful Relationships
The whole design and function of BNI’s regular meetings, and the practice of 1-2-1 meet-ups, is about putting into practice our understanding that referral marketing is best done between trusted parties – and that trust is built over time. Our reputations are affected by the quality of referrals we pass.
Three: Life Long Learning
BNI believes that all people should exit the planet on a learning curve. Businesses that are constantly sharpening their saw are the ones that are the most successful. Not only are BNI members provided with ongoing educational opportunities, they are encouraged to constantly gather information in their industries and to hone their industry skills-set. Education points are plotted by BNI chapters and 148 000 man hours of training was done last year by BNI. Ongoing education within BNI exists to enable our members to succeed within its proven system.
Four: Traditions + Innovation
Traditions are key to a successful business. They are what bind us together and they lay the foundation of a shared history, showing who we are by where we come from. On the other hand innovation is what grows our experience. A business that is based solely on traditions will not thrive – there must be a balance between tradition and innovation. Innovation keeps businesses current – requiring that new information and thinking must adopted into business practice, along with employing up to date technology. Don’t lose touch with new changes in business and don’t be afraid to try new things at BNI.
Five: Positive Attitude
A positive and supportive attitude promotes good business. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who bring you down. Rather surround yourself with people who will uplift you. A positive attitude at all times uplifts the mood of the BNI group and your business. So, no matter how you feel: get up, dress up and show up. Putting a smile on your face to give to others not only makes them happy but it will make you happy too.
Without accountability BNI would be a social club. Practicing accountability within each BNI chapter is an important foundational element in growing a strong and healthy business; because it is imperative, particularly as we build meaningful relationships, that we “Be our word” and hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Practising a habit of accountability within BNI chapters and regions in a positive way is sound business training for every member.
Recognition is the greatest encouragement. BNI embraces recognising members who have participated; who have given to their chapter and members, and done a good job. Always strive to catch somebody doing something right and reward them for it. If you see something praiseworthy within BNI or among members, let other people know. Know that it is wise to praise in public and correct in private. A great way to recognise others is to make it a habit to hand out written testimonials and to give verbal testimonials during meetings.
If you think there are some areas in which your BNI chapter can improve in living BNI’s core values, discuss these at your next shareholder’s meeting. By practising these seven core values BNI and your business will be stronger and more successful for it.
Members who do not share BNI’s values will struggle to enjoy the BNI system. But members that do, enjoy years of productive and supportive memberships that reap all the benefits from the seeds that were sown initially.