In this episode, Dr. Misner talks with BNI Minnesota Executive Director Nancy Giacomuzzi about the process of transitioning from one Leadership Team to the next including:
Ivan Spoke Before 400+ BNIers in Minneapolis Why BNI Wants Leadership Teams to Change on a Regular Basis Avoiding Leadership Team Burnout Leadership Means Creating More Leaders, Not More Followers What Should Leadership Team Members Do After They Leave The Leadership Team? Why Do I Have To Go To Training Again? What Criteria Do You Use To Choose New Leadership Team Members From The Existing Membership?
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 011 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the official BNI podcast, brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site of the net for networking downloadables. I?m Frank Felker in Washington DC joined on the phone again today by Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. He?s calling in from BNI headquarters in sunny southern California. How are you today, Ivan?
Doing great Frank, thank you very much.
I understand we have a special guest on the line today?
We surely do. Nancy Giacomuzzi. Nancy is the Executive Director in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, one of our strongest regions for BNI. If you had asked me 22 years ago when I started BNI if Minnesota would have been one of the biggest regions for BNI, I would?ve said not a chance. I?m really impressed with what you?ve done in this area. We have over 130 chapters in all of Minnesota with an average number of members per chapter of 28. Isn?t that right?
That is right. We?re really excited what is happening over here with BNI.
Well, you have done a great job. I have invited you to be part of this podcast today because you had a topic that you brought up in my visit last week to Minneapolis. You had over 450 people at the event last week.
We had a great event. I was so delighted that you were able to be part of that. It was very exciting to have all the members in participation. And a question did come up.
I think it went really well and a question came up that I thought would be a great topic for the podcast. Why don?t you throw the topic out there and we?ll take it from there.
Okay. We are starting to identify our chapter president for the next leadership team. Perhaps you could explain why BNI suggests that the leadership team change on a regular basis.
This is a really important one. It is really timely because the executive directors, assistant area directors, and regional directors should be looking at future potential leadership teams because even though it seems like the transition just took place, you need to start looking now and chapters should start looking for the next generation of leadership people early so that they can be in place and have time to go through the training.
There are a number of reasons why we recommend that they not be in position over and over again. I?ll give a couple of comments and throw it to you to see if you have anything to add. I think it?s really easy to burn people out. When we first started BNI, the leadership teams were one year. We just burned them out. Even for the people who said no way, I love this and I want to stay in. We would burn them out. They would really get very tired after something close to a year. And certainly anyone who early on went two years, by the end of their second term, it was just too much.
There?s an even more important reason that I have and am going to throw it to you. I think the more important reason is that you have to bring in other people to help support. You can?t be a one person show or a three person show. The more people that you bring on, the more leadership you?ll have. To me, true leadership is about creating more leaders, not more followers.
When you have a leadership team that is going to transition to another strong leadership team, they end their job perfectly by training additional people who can take over. Then they?re sort of the elder statesman, so to speak, in helping the new leadership team to run the chapter. So then you have a lot of leaders and not just three. Do you have anything to add to that?
I think you are right. What happens is that some of them do such a great job they just get so excited about being in that position. But we realize that the more people that we have to do those positions, the stronger everybody in the chapter is, so it works really well.
You know, I think you?re right. Sometimes they did a great job so they want to do it a second or third term, but that is absolutely a recipe for disaster in the chapter. We will burn them out. And we?re not creating more leaders by doing that.
They think they?ve done a great job and that their chapter will benefit by that having them continue to do that. You?re right ? they do burn out. It is easier to just bring on more people so everybody participates.
Isn?t it better having six to nine people who overtime are supporting the chapter within the membership committee, as a past leadership team person or a visitor host as a past leadership team person ? it just makes a stronger chapter.
That was one of the other questions that some of them have. Sometimes it?s hard for the leadership team members to become just a regular member, so any tips on what they should or shouldn?t do after having been on the leadership team?
That is a great question and I think they need to step over to the membership committee because that is such an important role within a chapter. A membership committee makes or breaks the chapter. I would love to see the president and the vice president step into the role of the membership committee when they step down because they have been through the training and can really support the chapter. I also think the visitor host position is a very important position for the organization. The past leadership team person is perfect for the visitor host position.
One of the other topics that always comes up in is that some people have been in the roles and out of the roles, and they?re looking at coming back in and supporting one of the different roles again. They say all I have already been on the leadership team in the past. Why do I have to go to training again?
The training question. Listen, you know I think training is one of the core competencies of BNI. It is one of the really important reasons why we are the world?s largest business networking organization. This year, 2007 when this is being recorded, we will have dedicated more than 126,000 persons hours to leadership team training. Right now, we have 4800 chapters times three leadership team people times roughly four and a half hours of training times twice each year. That is over 126,000 person hours.
When people join BNI, this is one of the reasons why the program was so successful. If you are a member of BNI listening to this podcast and you ever have a leadership to person who says yeah I want to be on the leadership team but I don?t go on to go through training, kick them out. Don?t let that be the pilot of your chapter without having gone through pilot training or retraining because they will ride your chapter right to the ground. I think that is the most important thing. They have to go through the training.
I think we?re almost out of time. Nancy, did you have any last thing?
I think the only other question is what criteria which you use to determine if a member would be good on the membership team? Any thoughts there?
That?s a good question. There are different personalities that fit the different roles well. You certainly want someone who is a detailed person to do the secretary and treasurer role. You want someone who can make tough decisions to be the vice president, and you want someone who can speak well extemporaneously to the president.
Someone in a chapter can fit any one of those three positions because they really take different skill sets. I like those three positions because you can take someone with any skill set to put them in to one of those three positions within the organization. I think it?s important to get more and more participation to take us back to the first question. The more people and the more leaders you have in a chapter, the stronger the chapters are going to be.
I think we have run out of time. Nancy, thank you so much for posing these questions because they?re really timely and everyone for needs to hear them.
Well, that?s it for this week?s episode of the official BNI podcast. For Nancy Giacomuzzi and Dr. Ivan Meister, I am Frank Felker saying we?ll see you next week on the official BNI podcast.