What should be Board Member’s interaction with Executive Director at next board meeting: using Option Solving?

A recent discussion with a non-profit board member revealed his disappointment at orchestrations by their organization’s Executive Director to freeze him out, due to his misgivings about the ED’s approach and overall competence. The ED orchestrated a meeting with the organization’s President and VP to use rules and procedures to require my contact to step down. They sent a letter to him to this effect, which came like a bolt out of the blue.

He was now faced with attending a routine Board meeting, where his exit would be discussed, despite having an incredible record of service on behalf of the non-profit over a number of years. He was struggling with how to deal with the ED at that board meeting; considering how vexed he felt about the whole situation.

As we reviewed his situation, I advised him to consider his options, although we started with an appropriate question to help flush these out. This question turned out to be as follows: “What is my best option for interacting with our Executive Director at our next non-profit board meeting; considering 1) intention to retire, 2) not happy with ED’s recent activities, 3) ED’s perceived intent to move me out, and 4) desire to sustain dignified exit with other Board colleagues?” We did discuss other considerations, but, by focusing on these key four choices, it would not overly complicate his dilemma question.

Moving beyond this question, I then encouraged him to draft two yin and yang “bookends” to help focus his intuitive mind on figuring out his most viable option. The bookends he chose were as follows: “Curse the ED out” and “Be extremely solicitous toward ED.” These unlikely option framers are designed to focus our fickle but brilliant intuitive minds on figuring out our most likely and realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

I then challenged him to produce at least five realistic options for his ultimate consideration. Option solving practice has found that when you produce a minimum five options, it stretches the broadest and most creative view.  Look at our Latest Example and you will see that we came-up with six named alternatives – one is: “Option F: Broadcast disappointment to all willing Board ears.”

With this “pictogram” now in place, I set him onto some emotional distancing to allow time for his intuitive mind to scan all his other life experiences for similar circumstances. I suggested that he should go about his other planned tasks for the day and then sit down for a decision point during the early evening. Emotional distancing is the time that his intuitive mind would ponder his six options. The pictogram would focus his intuition to make an optimum choice, which would quickly emerge when he revisited his pictogram.

I left him knowing that once he revisited his pictogram that evening, he would make his optimum intuitive choice. He should then immediately set the decision in motion, while everything is still top-of-his-mind, and figure out a more specific game-plan to implement it. Which option would you have chosen, if you were in his shoes?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two weeks time: “What is a business executive’s best pricing decision with a new product?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)


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