The Vision we set, gives the direction we collectively run towards. BNI is a referral passing organisation and provides the framework to network effectively. Vision setting gives each chapter the opportunity to evolve and develop their own culture. And this has been a learning journey for me.
As I reflect on my development, this post began here.
6. The Habit to Ask
To foster communication, I developed the habit to ask. At the 1-1 level, I’d ask if the audio and visual cues to spot referrals are working. Also if the qualifying questions make it clearer for the right referrals to come in.
At the Leadership and Support Team level, my questions are frequently, how can we do this better, and how can we do this different?
At the chapters level, I’d be asking, “How’s a larger chapter doing it right?” and “How do they hold it all together?”
At the country level, it’ll be more along “Hey, how do we help your members enter the Singapore market?”
7. Connect to Bigger Circles
And that’s where I look out for opportunities and doorways to connect businesses or help our members reach outside our borders. There’s so much more I can write about networking, so I’ll just place a stub here for future writings.
8. Celebrate the Heroes and the Wins
BNI always had this as a practice and recently Recognition is a defined Core Value. It is through my BNI journey where I learn the value of gratitude and the strength of recognising the heroes around us and the wins in our community.
And I’d be the first to admit that sometimes, the act of celebration happens first, before the joy truly follows. Acknowledging and celebrating wins, keeps the eye on the Vision.
9. Have Fun while Leading
I could not have planned this out to this degree. Through my 2 terms as President, I had special dates which landed on a Thursday, our meeting dates.
I had my birthday – yes we celebrated. Thank you, dear chapter mates!
And I had my anniversary on another meeting day too. We had Family Day theme, where members invited their spouses and children to the meeting. And my wife attended that meeting. Being on the podium, I took the liberty to have our florist present flowers to her as I acknowledged all visitors. It’s great for our families to meet our business family.
10. Own the Stage
This was a big part of self-development. As President, we chair the meetings every week.
The first thing to learn about overcoming stage fright is just keep getting onto the stage. Helping fellow business owners overcome these same fears was a big personal mission for me. And it was about finding ways to get members onto the stage to address the room, often and repeatedly.
The next thing to learn while on the podium was how to read the audience. The meetings have a structured agenda, and it was too easy for one to drift off. I had to learn when energy had to be drummed up, and to carry it from segment to segment. It was just as important to tone down the energy when the fun index was reaching frenzy levels.
If asked what I missed through the lockdown period, that’s the learning opportunity to own the stage.
11. Accountability vs Responsibility
A learning that capped it all for me, was that as the leader and President, you’re never totally in control. You are simply accountable.
A successful meeting requires many hands. A great group working together to grow business requires many more hands and eyes too. The BNI Structure defines the key roles, and as the chapter evolves, more roles are formed to keep folks engaged and supporting each other. Sometimes, we try out new things too. The LT has to mete out the roles and hope that they uphold their responsibilities. On good days, we celebrate together. On not so good ones, well, the President is accountable.
What was also important for me, was to communicate with the team that I was accountable. That gave them the covering to run their roles, and do their best in fulfilling their assigned responsibilities. It gave them space to learn and grow for themselves.
It has been a great journey for my personal growth.
Will I take up the role again? We’ll see..