Thursday, 25 September 2008

BNI Hogarth - a great find

When I first started out on my own, I thought that I would have to be competitive, fight tooth and nail for every good thing, watch my back and be secretive. Obviously I didn't think any of this out loud in case people thought I was mad, but deep down I thought being a business woman would mean developing a tougher husk. Well as it turns out this was the first thing I was wrong about, although I'm sure it won't be the last.

Overall I have found other people in business to be kind, helpful, welcoming and generous. Even if what I do represents competition to them. This may well be something to do with the fact that in this new Web 2.0 world we live in, its recognised that collaboration is king. I don't really care why it is actually - I just really like it.

This morning, this truth was brought home to me once more when my colleague Jon invited me to join the Hogarth chapter of the BNI for their weekly breakfast meeting. The BNI is a business networking organisation with around 70,000 members worldwide. Each local chapter offers the opportunity for local businesses to exchange qualified referrals and, importantly, to learn from one another. I was so openly and warmly welcomed as soon as I walked in, I didn't even manage to feel nervous about the 60 sec timed introduction I had to give myself.

It was a fascinating exercise actually, to see how everyone from plumbers to ad agency directors chose to introduce and market themselves. Among those intros there were some pithily brilliant comments. The one that stands out and that I want to share was from area director, Dinah Liversidge who (on this occasion) was given a 10minute slot. I hope she won't mind me paraphrasing her,

"We as a business organisation need to set our goals for the next 6 months, and monitor our progress towards them... and I invite each of you to do the same thing. Do you know what your goals are for the next 6 months? If not, you need to put some in place. If you don't put up your goal posts, you'll never be able to score".

I thought this was such a lovely analogy. I'm sure its not a new learning for any of you and yet... are your goals in place? For both employer and employee, this is an useful piece of advice to remember.

Many thanks to everyone at BNI Hogarth for an inspiring morning.

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