Mohan George owns a 17-year-old company called Integrated Freight and Logistics, popularly known as IFL in the UAE. Even though Mohan isn’t currently a member of any BNI chapter, he is actively supporting two chapters as Director Consultant. He has had a very compelling journey. He joined BNI in 2009 and during his third year, he became a Director Consultant. “I was a part of launching two chapters. One was with the help of a fellow DC and another was all by myself. So currently, I’m supporting BNI Energizers and BNI Gazelles,” says Mohan.
When asked about how Mohan feels about not being an active member of BNI, he smiles saying, “BNI is a business networking forum. So business-wise, not being a member definitely affects your referrals and relationships. The expected business will not come if you are not a member. Fortunately, we’ve got someone from our organization as a member in BNI so the referral pipeline is still open for us.”
Being a BNI member does come with a lot of commitments. Conducting one-to-ones, building relationships, attending weekly meetings, doing justice to the different roles and the list goes on. “Managing two chapters and being a member in another chapter would have taken a toll on me. So on the brighter side, I’m happy to save some time for myself. It’s all about individuals, you can’t generalize,” adds Mohan.
Being a Director Consultant comes with both responsibilities and restrictions. There is the responsibility of growing the chapter and the restriction of not being able to meet members regularly. ‘Lifelong Learning’ is also something Mohan misses out on. He says, “The biggest drawback is the downfall in the learning curve. I’ve observed that even if you’re a member at BNI for 20 years, you’ll still learn something new in every meeting. Honestly, being a member is a continuous learning process. When you’re out of a chapter, that learning is also affected, there are many things you’ll miss.”A Rollercoaster Ride
As a vibrant and ever-changing entity, every chapter has its ups and downs. Mohan has personally witnessed this and has also had the experience of turning a chapter around beautifully and getting it back on track. When asked how he did it, he humbly says, “Every chapter goes through a rollercoaster experience, no chapter stays at the same point. The key is to be with your members, don’t make them feel guilty if the chapter is not doing well, you have to hold their hands, especially the leadership team.”
“As a leader, you need to be there for the members, inspire them, give courage to them and focus on the quality. I personally don’t believe in the number game. I think by just focusing on the quality, you can grow your chapter organically. At the end of the day, ensure that the members are happy, member happiness is the key.”Learning from Experiences
In some chapters, Mohan’s category is similar to the category of role holders. Upon being questioned about how Mohan handles such situations, he says, “I don’t believe in promoting my business in the capacity of a DC. Normally, I don’t give out my business card, instead, I hand out my BNI card. If someone is specifically keen to know about my company, I tell them; but I also stress that my category is taken by this member in your chapter. In that way, I’m able to maintain a healthy relationship and avoid complaints or concerns.”
Lifelong Learning is one of the most important core values of BNI. And, with everything going online in these interesting times, BNI has launched various online platforms like BNI Connect and BNI Business Builder to name a few. Mohan has been using these tools to stay up-to-date, “I get my resources through Business Builder, then I always go through the podcasts. I do this constantly,” he says. “While attending the Leadership Forum and DC meeting, I try to get most of the information and stay updated.”
Mohan leaves with a piece of advice for the fellow members who are considering taking up the role of a DC. He says, “Ensure that you’re not taking it as an ornamental title. Being a DC gives you stability but it comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a member, you’re accountable to yourself, but when you’re supporting a chapter you need to balance everything. Another point I want to stress here is to avoid showing your authority as a DC. The art of delegation is also very important.” We wish Mohan every success in his journey of supporting these two chapters and are proud to have him on board with us as a Director Consultant.