Traditions and Innovation

Traditions and Innovation

Rob Higgins delivered our Education slot this week and focussed on one of the BNI Core Values – Traditions and Innovation.

Traditions and Innovation – what does that mean to you? A different way of saying it is to say Traditions PLUS Innovation and for me, that has a totally different context. When considered like this it says Tradition PLUS Innovation work hand-in-hand with each other.

What does tradition mean? What does innovation mean? There are many different descriptions but one that struck a chord with me was:

Tradition is what is passed on to you AND Innovation is what you do with it.

Traditions help develop and maintain a really strong organisational culture. One of the best examples of this is the Disney Corporation (just for you Matt) – part of their training when they join Disney is to take time to know and understand the companies traditions.

Some of the traditions you may see in BNI are the use of visitor hosts, a recognised structure for the meetings and recognition for members.

Equally, there is a saying that says COMPANIES THAT DON’T INNOVATE – STAGNATE. Some of the innovations that have taken place within BNI (some of which we may not recognise as innovations) are the visitor hosts, podcasts and the referral reality check. And you can see from this that some things we see as traditional (eg visitor hosts) were at one point innovative.

Now, looking at my own business as a Financial Adviser I can see areas where tradition PLUS innovation can work together. For instance, when meeting a new client I need to collate a lot of basic information and traditionally this was done during the first meeting with a client. However, an ‘innovation’ is that I will quite often issue the client shortened document to capture this information IN ADVANCE of our first meeting. This means that the time we spent together is more productive.

Another, obvious one, for us all is that moving forward we may all make much more use of e-commerce and the likes of Zoom or Teams.

Perhaps a good exercise for us all is to look at everything we do in our business and challenge how and why we do it. Or perhaps even better to work alongside someone we know and trust, perhaps even someone in this meeting, and ask them to challenge us and to see if they can tell us what they like about our business (the traditions) and what could be improved (innovation).

Remember, its Traditions PLUS Innovation.