Home » Cultural differences that can show BNI NZ members how we can go from good to great

Cultural differences that can show BNI NZ members how we can go from good to great

by Graham Southwell

Recently Mahesh ‘Mac’ Srinivasan, the President of BNI Asia Pacific and National Director for India, Sri Lanka and Singapore visited 3 chapters in New Zealand. Under his leadership since January 2016, BNI India has experienced 41% growth in membership and added 70+ new chapters this year – impressive stats!

Graham, Pam and Mac

From left: Graham Southwell – National Director – BNI New Zealand, Pam Martin – President – BNI Parnell & BNI Director Consultant – Auckland, Mahesh ‘Mac’ Srinivasan, the President of BNI Asia Pacific and National Director for India, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

He noticed some interesting cultural differences between the way BNI meetings are run in New Zealand and some of the other APAC countries. He wanted to share these insights, some which focus on how we can fine-tune things here.

Happiness: Mac was very impressed by the joy that he saw in the chapter meetings he visited. This is very important in terms of retaining people over time. Mac puts some of this happiness down to the relaxed nature of chapter meetings. This relaxed vibe is a double-edged sword however. Mac noted that attracting new members may be more difficult if they feel that meetings are not run as professionally as they could be.
He suggests: Keeping humour appropriate and timely and off-topic conversations to a minimum.

Timekeeping: Mac noticed that meetings didn’t necessarily keep strictly to time. In India where chapters are much larger all members have a microphone. When they’re giving their 60 seconds it automatically cuts out at the 60 seconds mark! Brutal! Now this may not be a necessary measure for chapters here, but it’s very important to keep to time and run meetings in the most efficient way possible.
Mac suggests: Having someone with responsibility for time that notifies members when their time is up and doesn’t bend the time rules.

Exponential Growth: Mac has a great analogy for BNI – he refers to BNI like a smartphone; essential for doing business nowadays and it allows you to do multiple things at the same time. Not only does BNI bring in business through referrals, it also allows you to connect with businesspeople that have years of experience under their belts who can mentor or support you. The more of these people that are in a chapter, the better for the entire group. For example, a chapter with 50 members will generally do 8 times the business of one with 25 members. That means for the same amount of time invested, you get 8 times the return.
Mac suggests: Focusing on adding members through visitor days and direct recruitment of businesspeople.

Mac was greatly impressed by the innovative partnership BNI NZ has with Hospice New Zealand. This sort of national-level partnership is not yet in place for BNI regions elsewhere in the world. The way we can measure and track ‘Givers Gain’ as it applies to hospice is an example to other nations and fits with BNI’s core philosophy of Accountability.

Overall, it seems that BNI New Zealand members are doing things well and have the potential, with some sharpening of the tools in our tool box, to go from good to great. So, let’s keep building those strong BNI New Zealand relationships and continue to have fun at our chapter meetings, while working on improving our accountability and discipline to raise the bar!

Be Passionate, Be Remarkable, BNI!

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