Recognize these people? I suspect every board has them. They are valuable board members and both clearly dedicated to building a great organization. But how do you deal with the opposite perspectives, keep peace in the group and still get the job done?
Bob is over the moon with energy and ideas. Barbara wants to stay under the radar so they don't get in trouble. Both valid perspectives, but hard to reconcile. So what to do?
- Wait for Barbara's term limit and then move on. Possible, but not a solution – just dodging the issues … there will be another Barbara in the group.
- Give Bob some extra coaching on how to introduce new options. Possible, but it's a fine line to avoid appearing to criticize his energy and causing him to withdraw.
- Have a board discussion about change, about the future of the organization, about the level of protection that is prudent and what risks need to be considered.
None is the perfect solution, but option 3 comes closest to having positive results. I'm always amazed at how few boards every talk about how they talk together. Therein lies the problem.
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