In this video, BNI Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Dr. Ivan Misner, tells the story of the philosophy of BNI: Givers Gain ®.
In this video, I share with John Maxwell how BNI started with my personal need to build my business with referrals. I also share who are my mentors and the philosophy of Givers Gain. Finally, we discussed how you should make decisions based on the information you are provided WITHIN the context of your value system. Please click on the photo below to watch the video of my personal interview with John Maxell.
What better what to celebrate a normal Thursday, than by putting on a red nose?
Trust me, it’s for a good cause–no–a GREAT cause.
Red Nose Day brings awareness and fundraising efforts to children’s charities across the globe. At the BNI Foundation, we support children in education, so this movement seemed like a great fit for us to support. Nonprofits such as charity: water, National Urban League and Save the Children will benefit from 100% of the proceeds raised through Red Nose Day.
Tonight, NBC will host a special featuring live entertainment from well-known celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon and U2, all while fundraising for children living in poverty.
Beth and I hope you tune in and donate to this very worthy cause. And meanwhile, enjoy this clip of us donning our own red noses!
Understanding an important philosophy based on the law of reciprocity can make your networking far more powerful, but only when self applied.
Click on the graphic above, or click here, to see the video!
I have been interviewed by countless reporters, blog authors, and more. Usually once you hit the “dozen books published” line, they assume you have a thing or two to say. With all of those interviews, you’d think I’d run out of things to say. In actuality, I’ve found that the energy of the person interviewing me really comes into play and helps make each conversation unique.
Below are a few clips from a recent talk I did with Cordelia Henry of the Referral Institute. We cover a wide spectrum of topics, which I always love because it gives plenty of variety.
On Givers Gain:
On Working in Your Flame:
On the Greatest Referral I Ever Got:
Thanks Cordelia, for the wonderful conversation!
I have a lot to be thankful for, from my wonderful family to my striving business networking organization. Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that I’m thankful, but it certainly is one day that gives me a chance to relax and enjoy the things that I am thankful for.
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again – Givers Gain is a standard, not a sword. By giving to others, in all aspects of life, ultimately I will reap the benefits. However, looking at others and judging their actions against Givers Gain will never benefit anyone. After 3 decades of keeping this standard close to my heart, it remains just as true.
That being said, I have a challenge for you all. Go out sometime in the next week or so and do something selflessly for others. It could be for someone close to you, or a complete stranger, or a group of people. Whomever you do something for, do it with only their best interest in mind.
Share with me, either through this blog or on my social media, what happened when you were truly selfless. I’d love to hear your stories.
Some years back, I posted a blog detailing how my introduction to Richard Branson was completely the result of the Butterfly Effect of Networking. In thinking about that blog post, it occurred to me that an important part of the reason I was able to make such effective and rewarding networking connections was the way that I thought about, and therefore went about networking. Here’s what I mean by that . . .
While it’s important to know the right things to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mind-set. Here is an up-close look at some elements you’ll want to include in your mind-set to ensure networking success:
- The law of reciprocity or Givers Gain® approach.
Don’t approach networking thinking ‘I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me?’ Instead, remember the old adage Give and you shall receive? The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.
- Diversity in networking.
Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals.
- Farming mentality.
It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops and there’s no quick return. But, when you spend time and take care in building relationships, your networking will yield extraordinary results.
Approaching networking with a mentality that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals will create the results you desire. Make an effort to spend more time strengthening your friendships with those whom you wish to have as part of your networking circle and you will certainly make more and better connections.
Do you have any tips for developing a networking-friendly mindset which positions you for success? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts, comments, and ideas in the forum below. Thanks!
If you work in an organization, you might be familiar with the increasingly popular position of chief networking officer (CNO). The CNO is the person who handles many corporations’ business networking and community-related activities.
The role or position of CNO has changed over the years. In the past, the CNO could have been the person responsible for such things as running the computer or IT department, or for computer-related functions in general, because networking was thought of as a matter of electronic connection. CNOs are still tech related, but these days we’re seeing many executives with that title in charge of completely different functions, handling business networking activities such as these:
- Community Involvement
- Internal & External Communication
- Public Relations
- Corporate Culture
- Social Capital
- Human Resources
- Client/Customer Relationships
- Developing a Referral Marketing Campaign
- Departmental Collaboration
- Relationship Advertising & Marketing
- Improving Vendor Relationships
- Referral Generation Strategies
As you can see, a CNOs responsibilities can be broad and complex. However, I believe the two key responsibilities to be: 1) relationship-marketing campaigns and 2) referral generation strategies. These roles should be top of mind if you’re going to network like a pro. They should be the principal job focus of a CNO.
First, however, let’s address the thought that’s probably just popped into your head: “Hey, I only have a ten-person (four-person/one-person) organization; how can I afford to hire a CNO to do my networking?
As business professionals ourselves, we remember what it was like trying to get a company off the ground. And, quite frankly, there never seemed to be enough resources to take care of all the things the business needed, let alone hire an executive-level person.
What I suggest is to create a CNO position in your company and then fill it yourself, at least in the beginning. In other words, don’t hire a CNO; just take on a CNO mindset. How do you create a CNO mindset? Start off by adopting a Givers Gain® attitude. This gets you in the spirit of finding ways to help others while simultaneously overcoming the scarcity mentality that can creep into your thinking. Lay out a clear set of guidelines and action items that you’d like the CNO to take, and then fill that position yourself for two or three hours a week.
In this video, I answer the question of how the mission for my own business, BNI® (the world’s largest business networking organization), has changed over the last thirty years.
In every business, there are some things which remain constant and other things which become transformational. The one thing which has remained constant in my own business is the philosophy of the organization, Givers Gain®, which is inculcated into the core of the entire company worldwide. The organization itself, however, has a transformational nature in that we are Changing the Way the World Does Business®. This is probably the biggest example of how our mission has changed as we started out as a tiny fledgling organization in Southern California not realizing we would eventually become a huge global company.
After watching the video, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as your ideas on how the mission in your own business has changed. Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!
Put simply, the law of reciprocity in networking means that by providing benefits (including referrals) to others, you will be creating strong networking relationships that will eventually bring benefits (especially referrals) to you, often in a very roundabout way rather than directly from the person you benefit. This makes the law of reciprocity an enormously powerful tool for growing your own business’s size and profitability. Below you will find four very important things to remember as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts.
Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.
Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.
Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.
Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved. You have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.
A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.
All of us are in business to make a profit. But if that’s the primary driving force in business, we become mercenaries to that process. I believe that I should serve a greater need than simply to make a profit. I believe that business can be honorable. It can make a difference in individual lives as well as communities.
Small business is the engine that drives many of the economies around the world. Small business doesn’t have the resources of large corporations. However, if they network together – the sum of the whole becomes greater than the individual parts. Well-designed collaboration based on an effective system and strategy can lead to small business success.
However, in the final analysis, the true foundation for success rests in an organization’s culture. In fact, I believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast. An organization needs a sound strategy to succeed but, it needs a great culture to excel. For me, that approach has been about creating core values around a culture of collaboration.
Core values establish culture. It’s never too late or too early to think about your core values in business and in life. Here are my core values:
- The Philosophy of Givers Gain®(What goes around comes around).
- Building Meaningful Relationships
- Lifelong Learning
- Traditions + Innovation
- Positive Attitude
I believe that it is possible to make a good living while serving a greater good. The core values I have tried to apply in my life and in my business have helped to create a culture of collaboration within the context of building a business. This approach is not only a great way to get business, I believe it is an even better way to do business.
Business can be honorable. It can be something that improves people’s lives as well as supports and helps local communities. It can do so, by not only helping to generate more business for one another, but by giving back to the community, mentoring others, immersing in a culture of shared learning, and by collaborating with others.
I have a big hairy audacious goal (a BHAG) for businesses around the world. I believe we can “Change the Way the World Does Business” and we can do that by incorporating core values into our business that support collaboration and positive meaningful relationships.
We are coming up on the 30th anniversary for my company (BNI) and I believe that our focus on these core values, philosophy, and vision are responsible for our 30 years of consecutive growth. Through strong economies and serious recessions – my organization has grown year in and year out for 30 years without exception. Few organizations can say that. I think that is a testament to our approach to doing business.
Have you given thought to your organization’s core values? If so, share your company’s core values here. I’d love to hear your comments.
The news of Robin Williams’ suicide stunned me last week. He is someone we collectively feel strongly personal about, as if we knew him as a friend. And the situation that apparently led him to take his own life – depression – just left me feeling like I had been sucker punched.
And then it led me to some deeper and more profound thoughts. Albert Pine, an English author who wrote in the early 19th century said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains unchanged and is immortal.” There is no doubt that Robin Williams has left a mark on our world. I have spent hours laughing through one of Williams’ movies, a comedy show or even a simple interview, and I’m sure you have, too.
To paraphrase Pine, I would say the following: What we do for ourselves ends with us. What we do for others lives on.
I certainly hope that what I do for others will live on. This shattering event has given me a moment to pause and take a look at how I have started a movement within business with the purpose to change the way we do business.
I’m so serious about this movement that I have adopted as my motto: “Changing the Way the World Does Business®”This change comes by implementing a shift in the focus of how we go about growing our businesses – from a dog-eat-dog, competitive model, to a how-can-I-help-you, collaborative model.
One of our business colleagues said recently about our mission that “we know referrals are our purpose, but impacting someone’s life is our calling.”
When doing business with the “givers gain” philosophy gets really embedded in practice, there’s a huge movement from “transactional” to “transformational relationships,” and both people and business take on fresh dimensions of trust and creativity that can’t be measured with mere numbers. That ethos and experience, multiplied in viral fashion, changes the face of business, which in turn impacts lives in positive ways.
Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, wrote, “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.” This Givers Gain business focus started when I was just 28 years old and has provided me with a rewarding and long career.
I think we can all use our loss of one of America’s great comedians and actors to start a conversation about what our contribution is going to be that will live on past our life span. I would encourage you to design a fulfilling life. Whatever you are, be a good one, as my friend Stewart Emery says.
I sincerely hope that somehow Robin Williams had a sense of the contribution he made to our lives before he left us, all too soon.
Rest in peace, Robin. You will be missed.