Case Study 5 Solution -
The Busy Director
Step 1. Identify the problem: It is important to understand what the
major problem or issue is. The major problem is:
The director is not living up to his
important responsibilities as a director.
Sub-problems or issues stemming from the major problem should be
identified. Some include:
A partial board is making decisions and
developing cooperative policy and thus, not all members are being properly
or adequately represented.
By not showing for meetings, the director is
being disruptive to normal board procedures and disrespecting board decision-making
The director is showing disdain for the
cooperative and his fellow members by not letting another member take his
place on the board.
The director is not using his talent for
getting things done to help the cooperative.
Step 2. Gather information: What information is needed to
properly assess the situation and develop alternative
solutions to the problem/issue?
Does the director have other (personal)
things going on in his life that are keeping him from attending board
meetings and fulfilling his responsibilities as a director?
Does the director have other professional
meetings to attend or other business commitments that are conflicting
with the cooperative’s board meeting schedule?
Step 3. List potential alternative solutions: It is often important to list a number of
alternatives to a problem and then evaluate them. Alternative solutions
1. Continue in the current mode. (Not very palatable due to the
continuing disruption of attendance in board meetings and the lack of
member representation for the absent director’s constituents).
2. Change the meeting time to better fit the director’s schedule. (Only
a good option if the director indeed has other
commitments that have been keeping him from attending the cooperative’s
board meetings and it isn’t merely because of attitude).
3. Give the director a set period of time to improve his attendance and
participation. (This may be a necessary step for the Goodwill of
fairness before proceeding with a more serious action if the director does
not have other conflicts and simply does not care to improve).
4. Board – fully discuss and then pass a motion to follow the
cooperative’s policy and bylaws for removing the director and filling
his seat. (This alternative is only warranted after finding the director
has no conflicts and is not interested in changing his ways. That it’s
his attitude causing the absenteeism. This action may have political
repercussions among the membership in the cooperative so it would need to
be handled in a careful and communicative manner. Using this alternative in
conjunction with alternative 3 might help with the internal cooperative
politics that might occur.)
Step 4. Select the best alternative (or combination of more
than one) and make a decision – After identifying any alternative
solutions, decide on the best course of action to take. Remember, sometimes
the best course of action will involve a combination of the strong points
of various identified alternatives. The best course of action is:
Two scenarios and solutions given each one:
Board finds that the director has other commitments and it’s
not merely an attitude problem. Choose alternative 2: change the board
meeting time (if feasible to all) and communicate to the director that he
is now expected to attend meetings and be active.
Board finds that the director does not have other commitments, but
rather simply misses meetings given his mood or other personal priorities.
Choose alternatives 3 & 4: first give the director a chance to improve
his attendance. After a set time-period passes, if the director has not
improved or changed, proceed with a board motion to follow cooperative
policy and bylaws to remove him and fill his seat.
Step 5. Put the decision into action: Develop the steps/actions to be taken to
effectively implement the best alternative. Implementing the decision will
Strong communications – no matter what solution is ultimately chosen,
communications with the director, among the board, and with members must be
clear and extensive. Communicate (backed by written documentation) clearly
with the absent director, in the fact/information finding phase, and in
moving forward with the appropriate solution. All cooperative parties must
understand the situation and what is occurring.
Put the ultimate decision into action in a defined time period. The
board must not hesitate to act in the manner it chooses.