Collaboration:  the action of working with someone to produce or create something.

I love this organization because it matches my values and most of the time the leaders in BNI–from leadership teams to the CEO–work in a collaborative mindset. Working together for the greater good of each business person who becomes a member and choses to embrace the system. Without the willingness to collaborate this organization would never have grown to the multi-national organization that it has become.

Let me introduce you to two gentlemen separated by an equator and thousands of miles but who have been able to collaborate in such a way that the entire organization has benefited and they have become friends.

Meet Jerry, a florist and a southern gentleman from Alabama. Modest yet effective in his leadership and greatly loved by his team. Jerry is the poster child for Givers Gain, people just want to be around this very humorous and giving man.

Meet Mark, a Business Owner and BNI Executive Director in Perth Australia and British Columbia Canada. Maybe not quite as modest as Jerry, but a very effective leader of people. They just want to go where he is going because there is always an exciting energy when he is around.

Jerry put together a program called Diamond Growth which ultimately was a product of many directors’ work over the years. This is an 8-week program for chapters that re-engages the member, educates and, over time, grows the chapters and helps the members become considerably more successful in getting and giving referrals. He was getting great results with the program in Alabama so I asked him to do a webinar with the Australians and teach it to them. Jerry had recorded many hours of video of him presenting the program at chapters and created some documents to support the presentations. He sent all of this to me in advance of the webinar.

The webinar failed. We could not get Jerry on the call effectively. I sent the documents and all the videos to the Executive Directors in Australia so they could review and learn from them.

Two directors took the time to watch the videos. Bob Greenup from Sydney created some worksheets and documentation from the videos he watched and shared them with everyone in Australia. Mark Graber spent several days going thru each video and transcribing them, creating more worksheets, gathering all of the podcasts, creating PowerPoints to support the presentation and doing the research behind the field of diamonds story and the J Curve.

He then organized it and put it in the BNI Australia and BNI Indiana Learning Resources so that everyone would have all the resources to run the program. In the mean-time BNI Global took all the content, worked with Jerry and created a user manual.  A lot of collaborations has happened.

Today Mark and Jerry have become great friends, always thanking each other and supporting each other in the sharing of the program with people all over the world. Last week I was meant to introduce Jerry at the 2017 Global Convention and I missed it, but Mark stepped in and introduced him for me. Who could have done it better?

What I love about collaboration is that people who collaborate on projects have a givers gain attitude, they give credit to each other, they inspire each other, and they work as a team.

In business today, we cannot succeed alone. We must have a team of people around us who want to collaborate with us and support us as we move forward.

When you are a member of a well-functioning BNI Chapter you have a group of people who will propel your business forward faster than you ever expected  because BNI Chapters are collaborative groups supporting and sharing credit for success together.