The Board Chair's Dilemma

In a situation that is typical of small nonprofit boards, this tightly focused case looks at an awkward moment in a board meeting. While there are many versions of this story in the annals of small nonprofits, this case leaves the board chair deciding in real time how to handle a confrontation and limit the damage when a popular employee brings an entourage of volunteers to a board meeting to protest a recent management decision. Many board chairs have felt this pain, struggled to make the right decision on the spot, and worked to clean up the debris afterwards. The B case has reflections on what triggered the crisis and what was done in its wake, and the A case will generate an active exploration of options for what to do at the critical moment, along with appropriate hand-wringing over what the chair and Executive Director wish they would have done in the preceding weeks, and had better do for the future.