When facilitation fails – a dilemma

Sections of this topic

    Olba has asked for your advice. She has been appointed to a government sector board to represent her local peoples in decision-making and resource allocation. The organization has been constituted with legislation that mirrors many provisions of the Corporations Act. Directors are not paid but Olba is happy to gain experience and serve the community.

    The Minister appoints the board members and also a ‘facilitator’ to chair the board meetings. Olba resents the facilitator and knows that her colleagues on the board share her feelings. The government uses this facilitator for a number of board and committee functions; she is well credentialed, politically well-connected, and somehow a ‘power behind the throne’ with several local organizations.

    The facilitator is paid a sitting fee and does not appear to carry the duties that are imposed upon directors under the legislation. She is also often late for the meetings, arrives without having read the papers beforehand, and, on one memorable occasion, got some way through the agenda before realizing which board she was chairing. This appeared to be a major conflict of interest as it became obvious she was currently also chairing a board that competes with Olba’s board for funds.

    Olba has done some governance training and a lot of reading on the topic. She aspires to be a prominent and useful board member and a good ambassador for her people. The facilitator could cause an embarrassment that would thwart Olba’s aspirations. She is also, in Olba’s opinion, not performing well enough and possibly harming the organization.

    What should Olba do?


    Many readers of this blog will be familiar with my newsletter The Director’s Dilemma. This newsletter features a real-life case study with expert responses containing advice for the protagonist. Many readers of this blog are practicing experts and have valuable advice to offer so, again, we are posting an unpublished case study and inviting YOU to respond.

    If you would like to publish your advice on this topic in a global company directors’ newsletter please respond to the dilemma above with approximately 250 words of advice for Olba. Back issues of the newsletter are available at http://www.mclellan.com.au/newsletter.html where you can check out the format and quality.

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    What would you advise?