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Episode 596: I want referrals and I want them now.

by www.bnipodcast.com

Chapter Hopping – Rarely wise, for anyone.

Occasionally there’s a good reason for a BNI member to want to change Chapters. Life circumstances may change, meaning they are unable to attend meetings on a particular day anymore, or a particular time. Changes in employment can also create the same challenge. Whenever it can be avoided though, changing Chapters is not something recommended by BNI. Chapter hopping can be disastrous to achieving your networking goals.

We also sometimes receive requests from members wanting to change Chapters simply because they feel they might have more success in the other Chapter. It’s a case of the old “grass is greener” mentality. This is usually a red flag for us, and I’ll explain why in a moment.

Firstly though, in South Australia, we have no “bad” Chapters. The amount of success we have in BNI is much more directly linked to how we individually go about our networking and following the BNI system than it does the Chapter we’re in.

Yes, we have a Chapter health indicator system called the “Chapter Traffic Lights”, but the Chapters at the bottom of the list aren’t necessarily there because the other Chapters are more fruitful for their members. There are other factors that come into play. Plus, every Chapter goes through cycles; a Chapter at the top of that health indicator system can often quite easily find themselves down the other end of the list in a very short period. All the while being very fruitful for many of their members, regardless of where the Chapter is sitting on the state “rankings” at a given snapshot in time.

So the grass is rarely “greener”.

Not only that, but effective networking is about building relationships. So, if you change Chapters, all the work you did building relationships in the original Chapter goes down the toilet. You have to start the VCP® (Visibility, Credibly, Profitability) process all over again. This can be a major setback in your networking journey.

From the Chapter’s point of view, the Membership Committee would be wise to show extreme caution when considering an application from a member of another Chapter. In my experience, a member wanting to switch Chapters is usually the “weak link” in their own networking success. Worse than that, if approved, they may bring baggage (wrong attitude, etc) into your Chapter. As the gate-keepers of the Chapter, it’s the MC’s responsibility to ensure such an applicant can never join and potentially damage their Chapter’s healthy culture.

Sometimes inexperienced Membership Committees are unaware of these very real and present risks to their Chapter’s culture. In order to protect their membership base and the wider BNI community, any individual seeking to transfer also requires a written approval from our Regional Office, meaning they need to satisfy us that they have a genuine and compelling reason for transferring. Even if cleared for a transfer, they are also required to renew early on acceptance, so that they are committing to a minimum 12 month term at their new home (just like a new member is expected to).

If you ever feel like you want to change Chapter, I recommend speaking to your Director Consultant. It might just be that they can help you achieve success within your current Chapter, rather than starting from the beginning again in a new one.

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