Your Forum: Moving from Head to Heart

My favorite movie of all time is The Godfather.  One of the famous lines from The Godfather is when Michael Corleone says “It’s not personal…its strictly business”.  If you’ve never seen the movie here’s a 5 second clip of that scene:


As memorable as that line is, in my opinion its an overused mantra which can sometimes be a road block to a healthy and high functioning forum.  Its common within forums to categorize a presentation topic in one of two buckets – either its personal or its business – making it easy for the forum to create artificial boundaries around the presentation and allowing members to take shelter well within their personal comfort zones.  In other words, once a presentation has been identified as a “business” topic, forum members often allow their hearts to take a nap thinking they will only need their heads for the next 60 minutes.

Of course, when making key business decisions one must take a hard look at the numbers, the risks, the ROI and the impact on key stakeholders.  But are traditional business metrics all that should be considered during a forum presentation?  Is it the role of a forum to crunch the numbers, provide strategic feedback or limit the sharing to what each of us might have done in a similar situation?  While a forum might provide some clarity around these factors, the truth is that your forum mates know you much better than they will ever know your company or your industry.

There is no magic that takes place between 9 and 5 that allows us to make decisions and take action without the fears, dreams, motivations, biases, patterns, compulsions and filters that we live (and sometimes struggle) with everyday playing a role.  Are we shortchanging our forum experience if we allow our hearts to be dormant during what, on the surface, seems like a straight business issue?  High functioning forums have learned that if its business…its personal.

Michael Bloch, founder and CEO, Quadrinity Media, LLC and HBS Alumni Forum facilitator & trainer

Taking Your Forum From Good to Great

Hi Bob and Mo, 

For our next Forum meeting, we are going to spend time brainstorming about how to take the experience from good to great.  Do either of you have experience with other groups or thoughts about how to help this have the best outcome? Where has this worked before and where has it not worked as well?

I have led brainstorming sessions before, but always looking for new ideas or suggestions.

Thanks in advance.


HBS Alumni Forum Assistant Moderator



Thank you for reaching out.  I love the pursuit!

One twist on the process is to have people answer the following questions:

  • What is Forum at its best?
  • Describe in detail what was special.
  • What conditions enabled this to happen?

Then the group can make a statement about the desired future state. 

I hope that helps. 

All the best,

Mo Fathelbab

Do you have a question or need advice on how to take your Forum from good to great or need advice on a Forum issue? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at!