Our ForUS Board February Update

21 February 2022

At the time of writing, the current FORUS Board have a little over six weeks left of their original term. In one breath, it seems a little premature to be reflecting on the last 11 months, but in another, given we’re in the midst of selecting the next cohort, it’s also perfect timing.

The first thing to say, is that this journey with the Board’s both met expectations and thrown them out entirely – contradictions I know! If I reflect back, the Board’s certainly mapped out Tuckman’s model of team dynamics – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing. For some, they’ve also begun to enter that final stage of Adjourning.

Those first few meetings were filled with enthusiasm and ambition; what they wanted to achieve personally and as a group, what impact they could make, and how they would do it. Then came the realisation they couldn’t/wouldn’t do everything, and while they’ve formed lasting bonds, they did actually have a difference in opinion…although the group always fell short of full-blown conflict! Next, they found their rhythm. They started to understand their purpose, were engaged and supportive of each other. This for me, was a defining moment. We started to see some real actions, which were realistic, and appreciated the dynamics of the ‘real world’, whilst still being ambitious and wanting to try something new!

This naturally led to the ‘Performing’ stage. Trust was there in the group, the deliverables came through and they could self-manage. Expectation met!

What about those things that surprised me (and I’ve certainly learned from as I’m sure others have!)?

  • Many people will often ‘revert to type’ but put in the right situation, they truly begin to grow and develop.
  • In a term as short as 12 months, you have to work hard to accelerate through those first stages to get to the final stages of those group dynamics.
  • Tolerance for the way others work is not always a given, but neither is the ability to challenge the group effectively.
  • Giving the right amount of guidance is a fine balance.
  • As much as we like to ‘try something new’, there’s real value in playing to your strengths. Doubling down on these often brings about the best results.

In conclusion, would I want the Board to do anything different? No! Have they, as well as I, learnt something from the journey – most definitely! The first cohort was always going to have an uphill challenge to forge the way for the next one. It’s fair to say, they’ve certainly risen to the challenges.

Some of the outputs will be tangible and obvious and you’d have seen these, for others, people outside of the group won’t fully understand or appreciate the work the Board’s undertaken. That’s an inevitability we can’t escape, but in the same breath, it takes nothing away from what the group achieved.

To the next cohort – the bar’s been set and in the immortal words of Macaulay Culkin – “This is it, don’t get scared now.”

We actively encourage anyone who has any questions or wishes to bring any comments or thoughts to the Board’s attention. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.