Bill George on the Power of Forum

Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic and current HBS professor, has offered a wealth of wisdom to forums over the years.

Most recently, Bill wrote on the Huffington Post about the Power of Vulnerability.  He quotes the rock singer Criss Jami who said “to show your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”  Our forums are truly transformative when they demonstrate the power of this thought.

Bill also recently published, with Nick Craig and Scott Snook, the second edition of his Discover Your True North Fieldbook: A Personal Guide to Becoming an Authentic Leader.  The book contains a wealth of exercises appropriate for a regular forum meeting or retreat.

Bill has been a member of a forum for decades (what he calls a “True North Group”) and he shared additional experience, guidance, and topical ideas in True North Groups: A Powerful Path to Personal and Leadership Development, co-authored with Doug Baker.

On an HBS alumni conference call, Bill summed up the value of forum this way:

“Forums provide a peer support group where you can get real, where you can be honest about the difficulties you are having, and where you can share the fear of failure which causes so many people to self- destruct.  Having this kind of group in your life is invaluable.”

Bill, thank you for all you do to support the forum experience!

Updates that Lead to Great Presentations

When seeking to identify possible presentation issues, forum members typically complete this sentence:

If I were going to present today, I would talk about “X”

To help get to deeper issues, ask members instead to complete one of these sentences:

I am (sad, mad, ashamed, afraid or confused/conflicted) about “X”
I am (angry at/having conflict with) “X” person about “Y” specific issue
I’ve been avoiding/I’m dreading dealing with…

To get even further, consider having members pair off and first share updates with each other.  This dialogue can lead towards identifying one or two big issues that can then be shared with the full group.