Summary: In today’s podcast episode, Stephen Halasnik and his guest Mo Fathelbab discuss business forums and the 7 keys to building relationships that transform culture and drive productivity. A good business forum can be extremely beneficial to your professional growth and should not be overlooked. The 7 keys Mo has developed help build strong relationships with your colleagues and can improve a workplace in multiple areas.

1. Judgement free

You rely on your colleagues to be there for you when you need them. In a judgment-free environment, connections with your colleagues work best and everyone can speak from experience. It should be a goal for your forum, office, or group to have everyone feel safe and not at risk of sharing information. Everyone has different situations in life, so being able to be open and talk about them will help your group relate and connect. Being in a judgment-free environment creates a safe place for those to be themselves and boosts your company culture and employee engagement.

2. Mischievous fun

Mischievous fun includes actions and activities that allow you and those around you to let down your guard, and just have fun. Think about the type of relationship you have with your best friend. This mischievous fun could be in the form of pranks, or as simple as jokes and this works to create quick bonds with colleagues or team members. There are multiple ways friendship can be advantageous in the workplace. Gallup released information from a study revealing that if four out of ten people in the workplace have a friend at work, the company’s profits increase by 14%. Some forums and work relationships are very serious and due to this, you may not always see the full side of a person. Being able to have fun can change the way you view people, but this fun can not be used as a decoy to vulnerability. This key helps promote everyone to be their most authentic self.

3. Vulnerability

What is vulnerability exactly? In simple terms, vulnerability is sharing something with another person that is risky for you to share or something you are uncomfortable with sharing. This can be the feeling of thinking that something you say can end up getting you in trouble, or cause judgment. The more personal things a person can share make them feel less vulnerable in the present moment. Being able to be vulnerable can help others become this way as well, but at times can be very emotional. Being able to share different aspects of your life can help others as they could be going through something very similar. Some people have a “business life” and a “family life”. They might not think that they affect each other, but they do. For instance, if you are going through something at work, this energy then can be transferred over to your time at home and can affect your overall well-being.

4. Kind truth

Kind truth is the ability to say difficult things but in a kind way. In business and life, there are going to be times where you have to be honest with someone about a difficult topic. Important issues must be addressed and not avoided. However, the way it is handled is most important because it could affect the person’s life, and if it is not presented in a good way then it may not be received correctly on the other end. You want to be able to keep yourself as well as your relationships in and out of the work environment healthy and honest. For this to work effectively, both parties need to be understanding and listen to each other to resolve a problem.

5. Reliability

When communicating and sharing information with others, you want to make sure that the person is reliable. Expectations need to be clearly set so that everyone can follow them. These connections with others have an enormous impact on your life and will get greater as time goes on. One important key is confidentiality because sometimes people are sharing important and/or sensitive information and they are there trusting you with it. If this information were to get out then the connection would become broken and hard to repair.

6. Sharing and generosity

You may have a question arise and if you are unsure of the answer, most people’s reaction is to turn to the internet; however, the internet will not always be accurate or direct with the information. Instead, we should be turning to those who excel in the content matter. This can be the forum of experts in your network. These people will most likely look to support you and help you along your journey. It goes past business-related aspects, most people tend to be helpful in your group whether it be business information, or personal/mental health advice as well. Many colleagues experience more than just business issues and sharing this and helping each other makes a group stronger. Small acts of kindness can make someone’s day and help everyone become more emotionally connected.

7. Shared purpose and values

Forums or peer groups are very powerful because they have shared purposes and values for both business and life. For example, people do not pay attention to the value of friendships and business relationships. Both of these meaningful relationships are essential because being with other like-minded people tends to make you a better entrepreneur. With these forum group relationships, you can grow and learn so much from each other if you collaborate. No matter what problem you are facing, you will have people to lean on that offer more perspectives and deeper understandings of the issues you face as opposed to just your mind. People are bringing so much to the table that you might not have even considered. You want your people to have the same shared values so that in the workplace everyone will be able to work smoothly, employee retention rates will be positive and this will drive employee productivity upwards.


The bottom line, people like to work with and be around those who they like, know and trust. These are important aspects that can encourage teamwork, affect work ethic and strengthen relationships. These seven keys to building relationships are very important to follow as they surely will be beneficial for everyone. It will help build a successful forum, workplace, and/or relationships. It is eye-opening when you take a minute to think about how these ways can easily transform all relationships to better them.

About the Guest Speaker Mo Fathelbab, Founder and President of Forum Resource, LLC

Mo Fathelbab is the founder and president of Forum Resource, LLC, and co-founder of Harvard Business School Alumni Forums. He is the author of two best-selling books, Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders, and his new book The Friendship Advantage – 7 Keys to Building Relationships that Transform Culture and Drive Productivity, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook.

Prior to that Mo served as executive director of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (1991-1997) where he created the peer-to-peer Forum program content and initiated 100s of CEO Forums. Mo has worked with over 20,000 CEOs and Entrepreneurs over the course of nearly 3 decades in 33 countries.

Mo regularly speaks to groups of CEOs and their C suite as well as to chapters of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) as well as audiences of more than 500 attendees. He has a popular TEDx talk and has appeared on many TV shows and podcasts as well as in many newspapers.

About The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions

Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular Entrepreneur MBA Podcast. The Entrepreneur MBA podcast’s purpose is to help small businesses get over the $10 million per year in revenue mark. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to small businesses and nonprofits

Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halasnik has started and built 6 companies over 25+ years with 2 of those businesses making the Inc 500/5000 fastest-growing list. Mr. Halasnik is a best-selling Amazon author on business and regularly tweets about his ideas about growing a business. You can also find Mr. Halasnik on youtube talking about Entrepreneurship

Mr. Halasnik loves small business. He lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men. 

About Financing Solutions

Financing Solutions provides an easy-to-setup unsecured business line of credit to small businesses. The small business financing product is a great cash backup plan that costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and is inexpensive when needed. Financing Solutions is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and 5 stars by the BBB/Google Reviews.

Unlike a traditional business bank loan, our business credit line requires no collateral or personal guarantee (except in cases of fraud) making it an excellent alternative business financing option. Small businesses often used their line of credit for short-term expenses, working capital, to make payroll, or for a business investment especially when business cash flow is temporarily down.

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Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities