Mar 14, 2013


by Todd Speidell, Kris Vigneri, & Vince Vigneri

What you may ask is “A chapter EKG?”  In BNI there are many acronyms like VCP, LCD, etc. and for this blog I thought it appropriate to add one more to the list.  EKG—Engaged Kinetic energy Growth.

Let’s break it down.  I believe that a key element to the success of any BNI chapter is the Engagement of its members (hence the E).  While you will never have 100% of your chapter members reaching a high level of engagement, and by this I mean being “chapter champions.” The more truly engaged members each chapter has, then the better chance for growth and retention.  Engaged members show up at 90% of the meetings themselves and have subs the rest of the time, engaged members show up on time and feel guilty when they come to a meeting without a quality referral.  Engaged members bring at least 2 or more visitors every 6 months to share their own success in BNI.  Engaged members volunteer for positions on leadership teams or for special projects.  Engaged members do regular one to one’s with all of their chapter members specifically to ask what they can do to help the member grow their business.  Engaged members enter all of their slips online and make sure to keep their company info and bio up to date to share before one to one’s.

Chapter champions go above and beyond the call of duty by participating on leadership teams regularly, looking for things that can be done to improve the overall meeting experience, such as making sure everyone has a nametag, looking for unattended visitors and subs to strike up conversations with,  offering to help with events, or bringing supplies for the chapter.  They are the chapter cheerleaders that often go unnoticed but can have a profound effect on the success of the chapter.

The K stands for kinetic energy which is defined below by Wikipedia…
In physics, the kinetic energy of an object is the energy which it possesses due to its motion.[1] It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes.
It seems to take a remarkable amount of energy to get a chapter started and rolling but once it reaches 25-30 members it is easier to maintain momentum just as in the description above.  The more engaged members in the chapter pushing it forward the quicker and easier it is for the chapter to grow.  On the flip side it only takes a few or even one negative member pushing the opposite direction to slow it down or even bring it to a screeching halt. 

The G stands for growth without which a chapter will eventually perish.  As you know all chapters lose members regularly due to things like job changes, moves or any number of other events.  To maintain and grow a chapter requires a continuous flow of visitors.  It stands to reason that a chapter of 40 members is much more likely to have regular visitors than a chapter of 20 due to twice as many members inviting and therefore it is easier to maintain chapter size and strength however it is also easy for the larger chapters to become complacent and satisfied with their size causing a drop in visitors and eventually membership numbers.  I guess the G could also stand for government or as we call it the leadership team which is crucial to the success of every chapter.  The leadership of the chapter can make or break it all in the space of the one year term.  If your leadership team is comprised of truly engaged members striving to push your chapter to success and constantly focusing the membership on inviting visitors then you are bound to succeed!

                 Month           Size           Growth    Ret.     Ref.  Visitors  Conv.  Abs.      Score           LIGHT

As an example of what a chapter can do by engaging it’s member I have included a flip chart showing the last 16 month’s chapter traffic lights report from Business Boosters chapter in Lincoln.  I have labeled the columns above so it is easier to read.  The first column is the number of members that as you can see went from 35 to 44.  The next column is the growth over the last 6 months derived from new members minus dropped members.  The third column is the chapter retention of members over the last 12 months which has improved in line with chapter growth.  The fourth is the number of referrals per member per week which has also steadily increased (the rule of thumb is if you double the size of a chapter you tripple the referrals passed).  The next and one of the most interesting is the visitors column.  You can see that the low point was January 2012 with .26 visitor per week average and February 2013 is an average of 2.33 visitors per week!  As I said above, the larger the chapter the more likely there will be visitors on any given week.  The sixth column is the conversion ratio or the percentage of visitors that become members.  This is the only category in the yellow on the BNI traffic lights right now as 20% is the threshold for a green light but 18% is still quite good.  The second most interesting column is the absenteeism column.  This is the percentage of members gone on any given week without a substitute.   As you can see they started out with a high of 10.76% and have steadily improved to 4.63% in February.  Here in lies my chicken or egg question…Has attendance improved because of the chapter growth and improvement or has the chapter grown and improved because of the improved attendance? 

The next challenge for Business Boosters is to keep everyone engaged to a high level to maintain and continue to their goal of 50+ members!

I believe that a lot can be learned from the BNI chapter traffic lights as well as the member traffic lights as they are key performance indicators as the health of our members and chapters.  I suspect that charting out a struggling chapter would look much like reading this chart upside down and while it would be troubling it could also be extremely helpful in identifying the areas your chapter needs to focus on to improve.  Every chapter started with one person and every chapter could have 50 members, all it takes is Engaged Kinetic energy for Growth!

For more information or if you are not familiar with your chapters traffic lights please contact your Director Consultant.