Home » PALMS in BNI – What do all the acronyms mean?

PALMS in BNI – What do all the acronyms mean?

by Richard Foulkes

Quickly, think of a PALM….

Who thought of a hand or a tree?

In BNI, PALMS are the way we track our activity. It’s an acronym that stands for: Present, Absent, Late, Medical and Substitute.

Why do we have PALMS?

In BNI, two of our Core Values are Accountability and Recognition:

The only way to build trust is to make promises and keep them.
Be the one that follows through, even when it appears no one is looking.

Recognition is the fuel that builds organisation and societies.
The person who masters the art of recognition attracts a strong network.

• Tracking our activity is one way of holding ourselves and others accountable in an objective way.  It also forms an objective measure to give recognition.

Peter Drucker, the famed management guru, said:

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure”.

He should have added, “You can’t improve what you measure and then ignore”

It’s like having a profit and loss and just putting it the drawer. It is also true that what you measure most often improves the most.

What do the PALMS show us?

PALMS is an objective measure of some aspects of a member’s Visibility and Credibility. Their Profitability is confidential.

If you look at the Summary PALMS report on the screen or the copies I have circulated, across the top it has:

P = Present (at the meeting in person for the ENTIRE meeting)

A = Absent (not there in person with no sub or your sub doesn’t show, should be 3 or less in a rolling 6-month period)

L = Late (arriving after the President has stood to start the meeting although technically it should be arriving after the start of the 15 minutes of open networking)

M = Medical (pre-approved absences for a medical event/procedure like a hip replacement – not being just being sick)

S = Substitute (your substitute shows up and stays for the whole meeting, also should be 3 or less for a rolling 6-month period)

RGI = Referrals given internally (to members for the member)

RGO = Referrals given outside (to a member for a third party)

RRI = Referrals received internally (from members for themselves)

RGI = Referrals received externally (from a member for a third party)


1. You can’t record a referral to or from a visitor or ex-member as they aren’t members, but you can record TYFCB from a visitor or ex-member.

2. You can record referrals, one-to-ones and TYFCB across chapters in NZ and worldwide. Just use the cross-chapter search to find them.

V = First time chapter visitors that a member registered through the app that attended a meeting.

1-2-1 = Number of 1-2-1’s recorded. 1-2-1 counts for both members, only 1 member needs to record it.

TYFCB = The $ value of Closed business generated by the member for other members of BNI, inside and outside the chapter. It is recorded by the other member.

CEU = Chapter Education Units – education activity a member has self-recorded. It includes podcasts, BNI Business Builder activity, MSP attendance and Leadership Team Training.

Each of these activities adds or subtract from a member’s CAT score. But that is another education.

The Power of ONE

In BNI, the Power of One is when a member attends every week, makes 1 referral a week, has 1 one-to-one a week and brings 1 visitor per month. The extended version is to record 1 CEU a week.

This would mean that on average, every member would receive a referral a week.. who’d like that?

And with that level of visitor activity, the chapter would grow and the TYFCB will look after itself. If EVERYONE in the chapter achieved this level of engagement the chapter would be supercharged!


• You can’t hit a target that you are not aiming at. The only way you can hit goals that you set is to track your performance.

• When it comes to business, knowledge truly is power. If you track performance and you track progress, you are on the road to success.

• The idea, then, is that you make nominal changes as you go along.

• The PALMS report and tracking is our chapter GPS system. It says, “Make a U-turn. Turn around. Go here.” It tells you there is a problem.  

• We can look at keeping track of our numbers and say, “I don’t want to do that. It’s boring and feels like work”. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

• If you say it’s boring and feels it like work, it will be. But its more than that. It is about achieving success.

• If you are on top of your numbers as a member, it is going to help you do well.

• If we are on top of our number as a chapter, it will help us all do well. Rather than pushing back on accountability, we need to welcome it, especially for ourselves.

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