Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters… (Colossians 3:23)

When I was 8 years old my father took me and our scout troop to a baseball game to see the Cincinnati Reds play.  I remember being so excited for two reasons.  First, to my young mind it was an incredibly long distance to go – a whole 2-hour drive from my home town to Cincinnati!  Second, we were going to see the great Frank Robinson, winner of 2 MVP awards and veteran of 2 World Series play.  It was at that game that I experienced the “Seventh Inning Stretch” for the first time.  The organ would play, and everyone was invited to get up and stretch, sing a song and move around to refresh their attention from sitting for hours watching the first six innings.  If your Forum has been meeting for a couple of years, it may have become routine.  You may be in need of a “Seventh Inning Stretch.”  Colossians 3:23 reminds us to work with all our heart at whatever we do.  So, what are some ways to bring refreshment and new attention to your Forum process which may have become routine.  There are many approaches, but I can highlight three.

1. Revisit the Corpath Vision, Mission and Objectives

To be diligent in any leadership discipline it is important to know the goal and objectives.  We have created a 5-page Corpath Vision, Mission and Objectives document that clearly identifies the passion behind Corpath.  A great activity would be for your Forum to take a 30-minute Special Issue moment in an upcoming Forum meeting to review the document and discuss – Does the Vision, Mission and Objectives resonate with us?  Are they being lived out in our monthly Forum experience?  After review, what may we need to change in what we have been doing to come into closer alignment with the Vision and Mission?  A digital copy of this Vision document for your Forum to review can be obtained by making an email request to corpath@corpath.ca.

A second exercise is:

2. As a participant in my Forum, how will I contribute to refocus us, realign to the Forum process to increase value and refresh our attention on the unique opportunity that Forum provides?

One of the unique values of the Corpath Forum process is that we do not have paid expert facilitators.  Our Forum’s work best with peer moderators when everyone leans in and has a voice and is invested in bringing value.  The feedback I get is that the single biggest factor for Forum success is closely following the Corpath Forum Process. (Your moderator has a copy of the 4 Hour Process document).  So “Seventh Inning Stretch” questions may be, “Are we keeping our updates to the time allotted, so they do not take time from other meeting elements?”, “Are members using the Focus Presentation time and coming with prepared presentations?”, “Is confidentiality respected and open sharing modeled?”  If any of these areas are of concern for you, or you notice the Forum has drifted a bit – share that with the moderator and arrange to discuss getting back on track.

Thirdly:

3. How will I frame the desire to refocus in a positive way?

One positive way to identify areas for framing the refreshing and realignment discussion is to work through a second resource we have available, 10 Success Factors of a Healthy Forum.  Dale Hodgson, one of the Corpath founders, put this document together over 8 years ago and it is still a great guide. It is a great resource for your Forum to talk through as a way of identifying positive practices to follow for Forum health and value.

The slide into ineffectiveness is usually not an identifiable or dramatic process.  It is usually a long winding road going incrementally downhill with no sign posts.  Kind of like me at age 8 – after 6 long innings my attention was drifting from the game.  But guess what?  After standing up, belting out the song, “Take me out to the ball game” and getting a fresh bag of peanuts from concession, I was back to full attention and saw Frank Robinson hit a home run in the 8th Inning!

REFLECT:

  • Talk to your Moderator about setting aside some time in future Forum to discuss the “Seventh Inning Stretch” issues your Forum may be experiencing.
  • Email corpath@corpath.ca to request the Vision or 10 Success Factors document for a Forum conversation.

Corpath – John Wiseman

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