Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Every Forum is bound to experience a break up at some point. The break up will come in the form of either one member leaving, or the whole group imploding. The terms of the break up will either be positive or negative, so let’s walk through each situation.

Positive Breakup of an Individual Member – This happens many times in Forums due to a change in someone’s life situation (move, new job, baby, etc). While it might be sad to have the member leave, it should also be used as a celebratory moment. I had a member leave my group because of a move and we hosted a party for him. It’s always nice to have the departing member say a few words to the group and maybe a few suggestions on how the group can keep growing in their absence. Typically, it’s noted in the Code of Conduct that the departing member forfeits any dues they’ve already paid into the Forum, and are respectfully asked to keep what they heard throughout their time in the Forum confidential.

Negative Breakup of an Individual Member – This happens when there’s an unresolved conflict between members. It’s usually not an enjoyable experience, but again, it’s common and happens despite our best efforts. Typically, the Moderator of the group should meet with the departing member to close the loop and give the departing member a chance to share some final thoughts. The goal of this conversation isn’t necessarily to find resolution, since it’s usually past that point. Rather, the goal is to make sure that both sides are heard…even if that means they end with an agreement to disagree. Typically it’s noted in the Code of Conduct that the departing member forfeits any dues they’ve already paid into the Forum, and are respectfully asked to keep what they heard throughout their time in the Forum confidential.

Positive Breakup of a Whole Forum – This type of break up is actually pretty rare, because Forums that are doing well, with everyone gaining value, usually stay together. Or, one person will leave but the rest of the group stays. But in the rare case that the whole forum does dissolve, it’s worthy of a celebration to officially close the Forum. Typically it’s noted in the Code of Conduct that in the case of the whole Forum breaking up, any remaining dues are evenly distributed to everyone, and all members are respectfully asked to keep what they heard throughout their time in the Forum confidential.

Negative Breakup of a Whole Forum – This is called an implosion, and sadly, it happens. Here are some of the main reasons for a large scale break up:

  • Too many members leaving at one time.
  • Too much negative energy between members to be resolved.
  • Members not gaining enough value to make it worth their time.
  • Members not commitmented to the whole group.
  • Multiple and unresolvable violations of the Code of Conduct.
  • Too many red flags from this list of unhealthy Forums. (https://tinyurl.com/yaoncwm5)

Whatever the reason, the group should try their best to end on an amicable note. No need for a closing party or final thoughts from all the members. Rather, just be ready to move on and leave the issues of the group in the past. Typically it’s noted in the Code of Conduct that in the case of the whole Forum breaking up, any remaining dues are evenly distributed to everyone, and all members are respectfully asked to keep what they heard throughout their time in the Forum confidential.

While it’s never the goal of a Forum to have a break up, there are so many factors that come into play that many times it’s outside of our control. Don’t let yourself linger too long on the negative. Instead use the time to learn how you can grow as a Forum to be better in the future. Sometimes breakups can be a powerful learning moment for everyone involved.

Note: If you are part of a Forum through a larger organization like YPO or EO, make sure to let the people in charge of Forums know about the breakup.

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