If you have visited a BNI Chapter before, you will most probably be positively influenced by the chapter members especially the way they are so closely bonded. This is especially true for members who have been together for years since the launch of the chapter! I commonly hear feedback from visitors that they wish they were part of this closely bonded group while doing businesses together =)
The purpose of this post is not to share about how great BNI is (although it is =p), but to share and discuss how things may turn up differently when relationships between the members are closer. In fact, I believe that the closeness of the members is the greatest weakness of the chapter.
If you have been in BNI or any franchised business before, you will understand the importance of system. You will not get the results that you intend if you do not follow the guidelines or the system developed for you by the founder or the person who created the franchise. Certain procedures are easy to follow but things can get complicated when emotions and people are involved. If we were to take BNI for example, the closer are the members, the more difficult it is for the members and committee to execute policies straight from the book. This in turn, will do more harm to the chapter eventually.
Developing higher tolerance levels over time
There is also a great chance of tolerating below average services between the members if they are of close relationships. I have chatted with someone recently who has been in BNI for close to 10 years and while he is not satisfied with his web hosting provider, he does not want to terminate the relationship as he says they have been working together for so long until it is like a business marriage. Sounds familiar?
Having said this, I think that the most thing for any BNI chapters is to make sure that they are making progress month after month while loving each other =) As long as the members are clear about their objectives for joining BNI in the first place, this weakness will hardly turn into something fatal.
I would love to hear your experiences if you have been or is currently a BNI member =)
Feel free to comment!