2014 BNI International Conference Recap

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Before 2014 is too far behind, we wanted to share a conversation with Cindy Mount, Managing Director for BNI GTA Plus, about her experience at BNI’s International Conference in November.

How many years have you been going?

I have gone for a very long time.  1999 was the first one I attended.

Was this event bigger or smaller in attendance than years in the past?

It grows each year.  The first one I went to had about 40-50 people there.  This year I heard two stats, one said we had 700 International Directors and the other 750 International Directors,  Either way – we are a big team.  BNI has grown to 6,958 chapters, 58 countries & over 171,000 members as of October 1, 2014. 

How was Jack Canfield and what was the big takeaway from his talk for you?

I’ve had the pleasure to hear Jack Canfield on more than one occasion and while the message is always the same, it is refreshing to hear it again.  My biggest takeaway was “Never let someone’s NO stop you”.    The other was when you come across a problem or challenge - “It’s not an obstacle, it’s a problem to be solved”.  My absolute favourite and the one that is always a good kick in the pants to do it right is “work on your Breakthrough Goal and the rest will fall into place”.

Were there any other speakers or presentations that really resonated with you and, if so, who were they, what did they say, and why did it impact you?

Charlie Lawson & Tim Cook from UK & Ireland did a presentation on “The Key to Retention”.  What stood out in my mind was the fact that 68% of those who leave BNI, leave because they think we don’t care!”  I was floored by that. I’m thinking if they ONLY KNEW how much the Director Consultants cared and how much time and personal resources they put into learning new things to bring to the teams – and how disappointing it is when Leadership Teams, some not all, do nothing with that information or refuse to carry out something.  There are even chapters who refuse to let the Director do a presentation or share material and then say that BNI doesn’t do anything for them. Then they (Charlie & Tim) went on to describe how the chapter doesn’t seem to care.  The chapter treats them like royalty in the first 4-6 weeks  and maybe even the first couple of months after they join and from then they are left to figure it out on their own because a new member has joined.

I wanted to be a teacher more than anything.  I went to University to be a teacher because I wanted to have a positive impact on someone’s life.  While I’m not teaching in a traditional school, I am trying to have a positive impact on an entrepreneurs life through BNI.  When I heard that 68% of them leave because they think we don’t’ care, well that really hit home for me.  So, personally, I want to find ways to change that.  No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care (don’t know who’s quote that is) but we as field team need to lead by example, show the members that we do care about their success, and then do a better job of training our leadership teams to carry that down to members.

What are you still thinking about from the conference, if anything, a few weeks later?

  • New ways to grow our region with new chapters
  • Definitely, as mentioned above, the perception that we don’t care.  We MUST improve the member experience
  • Member experience inflators & deflators – when are they happening?
  • How to find more Director Consultants who care as much as the current team
  • BIGGEST THOUGHT – where do I start?  (which one is the breakthrough goal)

What goals or aims did you leave with?

Improve customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score, which includes:

  • Improve retention through increasing member experience
  • Recruit larger field team, to serve our current and new clients
  • Increase membership with 6 new chapters with a minimum of 25 members per chapter.  Greater visibility equals more business and visibility for members in existing chapters.  Brand recognition works for everyone.
  • For our current chapters, increase average size  to 25 for a total regional membership of 925 members (currently 606 members)  to create even more energy and greater member experience.

Other thoughts?

It's a massive job but doable with the right team. Now, how to find the right team as they have to be in the givers gain mindset, be willing to get out there, more for the exposure and the higher training they receive, and not in it for the money (comp plan)?

On another note:  There is something called “Founders Circle”.  The Founders Circle members are representatives from around the world, from BNI thriving countries who have been chosen by their National Directors as a) outstanding contributors to the BNI program b) exemplify Giver’s Gain, c) have extensive BNI experience to represent the country.  Members of the FC meet face-to-face 2x a year to table changes to BNI materials, program, franchise accountability and basically bring to light the strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, threats we are experiencing and to problem solve.  In between the F2F meetings we stay in touch via email, conference calls etc.  I am proud to be the selected representative for BNI Canada.  For me it is an honor to represent our country at the table and to know in advance what is coming down the pipeline.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make BNI work the way it does, many hours paid and unpaid work but all worth the time and effort because we do make a difference. 

The 2015 BNI's International Conference is November 4 - 7th. If you attended the 2014 conference, we'd love to hear what you thought.

photo credit: DigitalDoughnut via photopin cc

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