CS5 – Executive Board Conflict

We are all individuals. These case studies are indicative of the kinds of issues that may arise. In all cases, the response is client tailored.

Profile

A middle aged executive who found that there had been a recent change to the composition of the Board. This meant that several members of the Board they had grown up with, and been mentored by, had retired. New members had joined and this a source of conflict.

The client was very much respected, but was referred to me because they were struggling with the change in culture, by the new CEO of the organisation..

My initial response

The Stress Test (see side bar) was conducted and it was clear that the client was a little resistant (which they later acknowledged) and could not acknowledge that any of the stressors they were currently experiencing where their responsibility (part of my client psychoeducation is to show the difference between ‘blame’ and ‘responsibility’).

However, as we shared ideas and experience’s, the client  became more self-aware of their influence over the situation and slowly stated to make clearer links to how their current actions and behaviours (short term responses) may not have been helping the situation.

Eventually the client made clear statements on what their core values were, what they planned to achieve and how they would start to build relationships with their new team. Experienced executives often have the ability to both be single minded and then flexible, the art of therapeutic coaching becomes helping them chose when to use which.

Follow Up

This client was very experienced in coaching techniques and it made sense for us to focus on a pragmatic and straightforward exchange of ideas. In this instance, because these was a referral from the organisation, I was given permission to mediate between the board and the client.

Each organisation and individual has a set of needs and values, so we worked through an Emotional Need Audit (see side bar) and spotted where there were tensions and conflicts, which we mediated a plan through.

Outcomes

In this case, the client was able to resolve his position in the Board and moved on to be an ongoing active part of the organisation.

There has been other circumstances in which it is apparent that the executive no longer has a cultural or strategic fit with the board. This sometimes happens and is not a reflection on the skills abilities or experience of the executive, but simply a complex situation.

Sometimes it is time to move on or transit into something different, which is part of the work that I do with experienced executives.

About Keith Abrahams

Keith is an experienced senior director, CEO, business leader & consultant who now practices as a portfolio director and adult educator. Keith's passion is for community in which he volunteers as a therapist with PTSD sufferers & in a social enterprise, encouraging small businesses to thrive and as a school governor.
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