Updates focused on business and leadership

Members often join forum for business value, but may then find that personal or family issues take a large part of the forum’s time.  To help surface members’ business and leadership challenges, consider using this new, specialized update form at one of your future meetings.  You will quickly build a parking lot focused on three key dimensions: the future of my business, my business today, and personal leadership.

Putting a bow on it: How (and how not) to conclude a forum meeting

Forum meetings can come to a close in many different ways, some that build connection and community, and other that leave members dissatisfied or disappointed.

The classic ending:

  • Each member shares a new perspective, insight, planned action, or new appreciation as a result of the meeting. (This can even be a standard practice every time.)

Other options and possibilities

  • +/Delta: what went well in the meeting, what could we have done better?
  • Appreciation for each other. In its shortest form, each person turns to the one on their left and shares something they appreciate about their contribution to the forum.  The process continues around the circle.
  • Letter to myself
    • Each person writes a letter to him or herself that summarizes what they specifically commit to do differently as a result of the meeting.
    • Each letter goes into sealed envelope; the moderator collects the letters and mails them out in two weeks.

How not to conclude a meeting:

  • With housekeeping (meeting scheduling or other logistic matters). Take care of these items earlier in the agenda so the meeting can end on a high note with substantive value.
  • With one or two people rushing out because the clock has been ignored, and some members can’t stay beyond the agreed ending time.
  • With issues or problems that have been raised and not cleared. Clearing the air is usually done at the beginning of a meeting, but it can be done at any time.  Don’t allow issues to fester; address them as soon as you can.

Tackling life’s hardest challenges: Have you articulated your forum’s purpose?

Does your forum have a constitution or set of norms that summarizes goals, expectations, and responsibilities?  If you have such a document, has the forum reviewed it recently to confirm that it is up-to-date and reflects the way the forum wants to operate?

I encourage you to review the beautiful purpose statement created by a relatively new Harvard Business School forum in New York.  On two, carefully crafted pages, they describe their purpose, who they are, how they work together, and what success looks like.  It’s suitable for framing, and they’ve graciously agreed to share it with others.  Bring this document to your next forum meeting, and use it as a launching point to start a conversation about your forum’s purpose.