Education is a leaky bucket. You start out with a full bucket of information, but when you train someone else, some of that information leaks out. When they train someone, more information leaks out. By the time you’ve gone through two or three generations, you only have half a bucket.
When the bucket is half-empty, people put their own information in–and it might not be good information. You need to plug the leaks. The best solution is to write everything down and develop a train-the-trainer program. Making training part of a replicable system is the best way to fill leaks.
Never accept anyone onto your chapter’s leadership team who isn’t willing to go to the training. BNI has spent a lot of time making sure that the leadership team gets a good orientation. Without this training, members won’t understand why all the parts of the BNI system are important.
If you keep this in mind as you train employees, your business is much more likely to be scalable.
If you think there might be some leaks in your chapter, listening to this podcast is one way to help fill them.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete Transcript of Episode 510 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other 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 today?
I am doing great today, Priscilla, and I have an interesting topic for me. It is a concept that I have really discovered and developed many years ago. It is called the leaky bucket syndrome. It is about education and teaching lifelong learning. All of these things, teaching end education- it’s a leaky bucket process. You start with a whole bucket of information that you develop or acquire and then when you train someone else in how to do something, a little bit of that information leaked out. When they train someone else, when that information is taught to someone else, some of that information leaks out.
The people being taught only get a limited version of the information based on their understanding and their ability to articulate the material so that by the time you are in the third or fourth generation of people passing along information, you only have about half a bucket of information remaining. You have lost half the information, and there is a sense that something is missing.
When that happens, what do people do? Well, they start putting in their own stuff. They start adding stuff because so early something is missing. The problem is it might not be good content. Very rarely does the material improve over time with this process.
Now, I learned this the hard way in BNI because when I started BNI, there really was no train the trainer – there was no training program per se other than I trained the first generation of leadership team people how to run a meeting. I just explained then, “Take good notes and then you train the next generation and then that generation will train the next generation. ”
I think I talked about this with you on a podcast some time ago. I remember going to a BNI meeting. I watched the whole meeting and I would have had no idea it was a BNI meeting. I mean, they just changed so much stuff. I looked at it and the only reason I knew it was BNI was they were all wearing BNI badges and they kept calling me the Founder. Really, it was like is this BNI? What is this?
That’s when I realized that I can’t do that. The leaky bucket is a crazy thing. It was like the telephone game. You start off with a sentence and you do that sentence or statement or store, whatever it is, and you whisper it in somebody’s ear and then they whisper it to somebody else and they whisper it to somebody else. I don’t know if you have ever done that before, Priscilla, but it is hysterical because you know, after 10-15 people, it is completely different.
It’s different than the simple message that was given. So the leaky bucket syndrome is a real thing in education. We have a graphic that is with this podcast and the graphic is done by Collin Horner. Collin is a BNI member. He does a lot of graphics. He does a lot of stuff for BNI. First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of the work that he does on these graphics. If you have a chance, check out his graphics. He is very active on YouTube. You ought to take a look at the kind of work he does.
But there is a good graphic here of the leaky bucket syndrome.
I learned years ago that it is important to plug these leaks. The best solution is to write everything down and then develop a train the trainer program so that there is consistency in the system. The training needs to be conducted in a way that is scalable so when teaching, your whole bucket basically gets presented to that one person.
Now, will there be leakage from that trainer to the next generation? Yes. But if you are only talking about one generation, not a lot leaks out. They are not going to be substituting a lot of their own stuff. So making the training part of a replicable system is the best way to fill leaks. This is particularly important in BNI.
So if you ever have someone who wants to be on the leadership team, and they say, “Do you ever?” And they say, “Yeah, I want to do the leadership team thing, but I can’t go to training,” do not allow them to be on the leadership team because first of all, they will miss out on anything new that is going on in the organization. And they will be relying strictly on the information that they have observed, no formal training, and it is information that has already been filtered through one layer and we are talking about multiple layers.
Someone gave me a great analogy years ago. They said, ” You know, it is like when you are flying in a plane, imagine that your pilot said, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to go to training. I know how to fly. I am good. I don’t need any recertification or whatever.'” There is no way you would get on that plane, right?
Well, these chapter leadership team people, they are the pilots and copilots of our plane, individual chapter planes. So you want to make sure that your leadership teams go through that training. We have spent a lot of time producing content to help make sure that the person gets good orientation, which was last week’s topic. Last week we talked about a visitor getting a good orientation. Well, that is part of helping to stop the leaky bucket.
That’s following the system, the program and the training. So that is the kind of stuff that happens often when people don’t get the full training. They start pulling things out.
BNI is, I think, as successful as it is today- over 8,000 chapters in more than 70 countries- because we really believe in lifelong learning and training and education.
For you, in businss, I think if you keep this in mind as you train employees. If you write this down and then make sure that people are trained in a consistent manner, your business is much more likely to be scale able than if you are just winging it or training someone to allow them to train someone to allow them to train someone.
So that is my message for today, Priscilla. Do you have anything that you want to add? I welcome it.
No, I mean, I think you covered it beautifully and it makes a lot of sense.
Great. I would love to hear any comments from the listeners today. And go back and listen to the podcast I did last week. I forgot to mention in that podcast that if you have seen in your chapter or some chapter that you have visited where people are just randomly pulling stuff out of the meeting, I would love to have you comment either here on this one or comment on last week’s podcast where we talked about it. One of the ways to fill the leaks is listening to these podcasts.
Well, you know, in 1985 when I started BNI, this kind of technology was completely unheard of, to be able to communicate with people around the world. Nobody – it wasn’t in my crystal ball.
What’s beautiful about things like this podcast is that it bypasses everyone. It is an opportunity to talk to you, listening to this podcast, directly without any filters, without any leakage in the information so that you are getting it directly from me. I think this is one of the really important ways to plug the leaks and one of the reasons why it’s really important for you as members to get your chapter members, your fellow members, to listen to these podcasts, to read my blogs and materials so that everyone is kind of marching to the same drum, so to speak.
That’s all I’ve got for today, Priscilla. Thank you so much.
Okay, well, I think that’s great, Ivan. Thank you so much. 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 for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.