The successful Forum is one in which the members freely and openly interact with a complete understanding of the consequences of their statements, opinions and advice. Members in a successful Forum should expect an atmosphere of trust and openness, in which each can contribute and where individual problems and opportunities can be identified. There are six critical principles involved in achieving a successful Forum:
The Forum must have a common purpose and a shared vision.
Members must have confidence that matters discussed at a Forum will not become common knowledge. It is essential that confidentiality not be breached by any member of the group, and the Chair and Vice Chair should stress this at every Forum meeting.
It is essential that every member in the Forum be committed to arrive on time, be fully attentive and respectful of other members, participate with vigor, stay to the conclusion of meetings, and arrange their busy calendars with the Forum in mind.
The most effective make-up of a Forum includes a diverse group of peers who have no conflicts of interest.
How members interact in the group provides a direct link to trust and openness. Nobody trusts until somebody risks and nobody risks until they trust. It is “challenge by choice.”
The underlying factor in any success or failure is leadership. The Chair and Vice Chair fulfill the leadership roles within a Forum. A concerned, caring and committed leader is vital to the successful operation of a Forum.