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Managing Difficult Conversations in the Boardroom
Thursday, September 12, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDT
Category: HCPEA Events

Managing Difficult Conversations in the Boardroom

The dynamic of an active board and strong-willed CEO inevitably leads to difficult conversations, especially when dealing with type “A” personalities, such as founders and hard driving professional executives. Conflict can develop in almost any area ranging from strategy (e.g. competing views on the execution of an industry roll-up), to leadership (such as disagreements over key people), and finance (including arguments over compensation).

When left unchecked, these situations can breed serious dysfunction and get in the way of growth and value creation. In the worst case, a collision between strong characters may end up in a costly parting of ways and the ensuing loss of opportunity and otherwise capable people.

This inaugural HCPEA “teach in” brings together senior board members and CEOs from HCPEA member organizations. The interactive session explores what happens when strong-willed people with competing agendas engage in debate in the board room. It will look at how high performing boards, executives, and external advisors will do more than just make it through times of conflict. Far from being “pushovers,” they will nonetheless act constructively to embraces differences, and even crises, as times where relationships are not only tested but strengthened and often truly built.

Topics will include:

•    Understanding and appreciating strong willed leaders.
•    Getting clarity on priorities and expectations, persevering through conflict, and steering controversial issues in the right direction.
•    Helping powerful personalities change their mind.
•    Pursuing the dual goal of right decisions and strong relationships.

The session will include discussion of real life scenarios, a review of best practice, and will bring to bear the experience of the senior people in the room.

Session Facilitator

Dr. Dirk Schlimm is an expert on executive effectiveness, leadership, and collaboration in global organizations and the author of “Influencing Powerful People” (McGraw-Hill, New York, and authorized Chinese edition). He works with executives, leadership teams, and boards. Dirk is also a national faculty member at the ICD/Rotman (U of T) Directors Education Program (DEP) where he leads a highly rated session on “difficult conversations in the board room.” He has experience as a public and private company board member, senior executive, and external advisor.