Confirming and Committing to Your Forum’s Operating Principles

Most forums have a constitution or set of norms that includes principles the forum intends to follow.  Sample guidelines include:

  • I will respect confidentiality.
  • I will be present in the moment.
  • I will stay around when times get tough.
  • I will speak my truth.
  • I will not blame, shame, or fix others.

To confirm your forum’s principles, and to help everyone commit to them, consider taking up each of your principles (perhaps one per meeting), and asking:

  1. Personal interpretation: What does the operating principle mean to you and what, if anything, do you want to improve on with regard to practicing the principle?  (Each person up to 1 minute)
  2. Sharing of best practices: How have you overcome challenges in practicing the operating principle or coached others to do so?  (volunteers)
  3. Compliance to date: Are there any red flags that you think need to be addressed now regarding our forum’s compliance with the operating principle? (volunteers)

These conversations can help your forum truly make your principles more than just boilerplate text, and can improve your forum’s effectiveness in practicing the principles.