People, like water, tend to seek the path of least resistance. They do what’s easy instead of what’s best. A BNI chapter that takes the easy path doesn’t hold members accountable for attendance, quality referrals, or ongoing education. They don’t keep the classification cowboys out. These chapters inevitably struggle.
Following the BNI program can be hard. It’s not easy to maintain attendance, generate quality referrals, immerse in a culture of learning, and maintain a positive attitude. But in the long run, chapters that take the “hard” path are more successful.
Groups that do the hard work generate much more business than those that don’t. The secret to success, without hard work, is still a secret.
Is your chapter taking the hard-easy route, or the easy-hard route? What could your chapter do to follow the path to success?
Brought to you by the Networking for Success YouTube Channel.
Complete Transcript of Episode 488 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, featuring Dr. Ivan Misner and many networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hi Priscilla. I am in Austin, Texas. I just experienced the New Year, and I think this is a great topic to start the year. It is a good topic for chapters to look forward as to how to be a successful group.
I also wanted to mention that the new sponsor is the Networking for Success Channel, as you mentioned. We will have a link in this podcast for the Networking for Success Channel. It is a YouTube channel that is sponsored by Entrepreneur.com. A lot of great content there, not only by me but also by many other networking experts that I have brought on to the channel.
Great. I look forward to seeing that.
Yeah. Thanks. So today’s topic is the easy path is harder. That sounds like a little bit of a paradox. How could it be harder? Here is how:
Early in my career, I learned that people, like water, tend to seek the path of least resistance. That is, as a rule, people will often do what is easiest rather than what is best and generally harder. So throughout my time in BNI, I have seen groups that take the easy path.
These are chapters that don’t really want to follow the system. They don’t hold members accountable for attendance. They don’t really hold people accountable for quality referrals, following the program or ongoing education- getting the entire group immersed in education.
Many of these things are, in fact, hard to maintain. They are hard to do consistently. It is not easy to run a great chapter of BNI.
The real tragedy is that these groups may go down this path for a really long time, unwilling to take the necessary hard steps to build a successful group. The results are inevitable. The chapter struggles.
It’s really interesting because oftentimes, I will hear people say to me, Priscilla, “You know, the chapter is doing fine. The chapter is doing good. You know, we’re okay. It’s alright.”
I always think when I hear that, I think of John Collins and his book, Good to Great, where he says the enemy of great is not bad. The enemy of great is good because that is when people will say things like, “That’s good enough. We are doing okay.”
On the other hand, I see some groups that work really hard to maintain attendance, generate quality referrals, follow the system, immerse in a culture of learning and cultivate a positive attitude. This is incredibly difficult to do consistently. However, these chapters are almost always much more successful.
In the long run – taking the hard path often makes life easier in the long run. Taking the easy path often makes life harder. I believe that is true in business. It is true in our personal lives. It is definitely true in BNI.
We have all seen this in our lifetimes. For me, it started in school. I saw kids that took shortcuts or didn’t study at all. They took it really easy. Years later, they learned that this was the hard path in life. That ended up actually being the harder path for the ones that took it easy early on. Years later, I learned that was the hard path.
On the other hand, many young people I knew studied hard and went on to college or vocational training and went into a career that has given them an easier life overall. Now, don’t get me wrong. Having an education doesn’t mean that they don’t work hard. Many people who move on to higher education work really, really hard.
I feel like I work really hard. However, I am not digging ditches for a living. That would be really hard. I have to tell you, I have classmates that I went to school with that are digging ditches because they didn’t do the hard work necessary to have a life that is a little bit easier for them later in life.
I believe that many people work very hard so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labor as they mature. I know there are always exceptions. I get that. I get that. However, they are, in fact, the exception. I am talking about most people in life. I believe that if you are going to be successful and want to take the easy path, you are going to end up with a harder life.
It’s the hard path that leads to an easier life. I can tell the listeners, those of you who are listening to my podcast, without a doubt in my mind, that the same concept applies to a BNI chapter. The chapters that do the hard work necessary to run a great program get great results. The chapters that don’t want to do the hard work necessary end up struggling.
The beginning of a new year- I am going to tell you the secret to sucess. This is it. One sentence. This is the secret to success. The secret to success without hard work is still a secret. It doesn’t exist. It takes hard work to be successful in life.
It takes hard work to be able to create and maintain a successful BNI chapter. Based on results, I would have to say that it is worth it. Groups that do the hard things that I talk about in this podcast end up generating much more business than those who don’t.
So my question to you members listening to this podcast: Is your chapter practicing hard easy or is your chapter practicing easy hard? Are you doing the hard things to make the chapter run smooth and much easier, or are you taking it easy, which end up making things much harder for your chapter and for your business?
I think this is a really powerful question for every BNI chapter to ask. I would love to see Education Coordinators have this dialogue. How can we really follow the program a little harder, a little stronger so that things are easier for us? And have this conversation.
Is your group taking the hard path to success or the easy path to failure? It is always up to you.
So what are your thoughts, Priscilla?
Well, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about what the harder issues might be that would lead to ease later.
Sure that’s easy. That’s easy. They are things like making sure that the classifications- making sure that the membership committees aren’t allowing people to be classification cowboys. If you don’t know what that means, do a search on the podcast here for “classification cowboy” and you will see. It is where someone is handling multiple classifications.
It’s where they allow people to not show up, or show up late. Attendance is really a big issu. I have a podcast later this month and I am going to be talking about attendance and results with some really hard data that I think will help.
So- making sure that your members are attending. Making sure that your members are engaged in the program, having an Education Coordinator who is getting the members highly engaged in the process. Making sure that the quality of the referrals getting passed is good.
All of these things take some effort, and what I am here to say is that those groups that are willing to put in that effort are groups that just generate a lot more business, and they generally have a lot more members int heir chapter.
Okay, that’s good.
Did that answer your question?
Yeah. No, I think that’s good. It’s much more-
It really amounts to getting back to basics, following the program, and doing that hard work necessary to be successful. I think I have talked about this in a podcast before. When I played football in high school, we had to do all the conditioning necessary to be a good team. We didn’t want to do it. It was too hard. We just wanted to play ball. Our coach showed us that even the professional football players do this. I tell the whole story. Search on the podcast for the Rams. You will hear the whole story.
It is a great story. When we went, we saw the Rams practice and they were doing the exact same things that our coach was making us do. We realized that- look, do you know what? If you take it easy, you are not going to do well.
It takes some hard work to be successful. That is the theme of this podcast, Priscilla. I hope that for those of you listening, this is a great concept I think to have a conversation with at the beginning of the year with your whole chapter.
I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have any comments, please leave them here on BNIpodcast.com. Thanks, Priscilla.
Thanks so much, Dr. Misner. That is some great information. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by The Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.