Summary of Directors' Dilemmas

Tales from the Front Line

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Directors' Dilemmas book summary
Board members` most common dilemmas and how to solve them – because they`re the ones who have to act in a crisis.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

7 Style


You rarely find a good advice book for directors, since publishers presumably believe that its audience would be small and that, in any case, those sitting on corporate boards ought to know what they are doing. But as the infamous debacles at Enron, Tyco, HealthSouth and other companies show, this isn’t always the case. heartily recommends this book to all corporate board members, even those with long experience. Patrick Dunne provides a useful decision-making framework for resolving common problems. It is enhanced by behind-the-scenes case studies that depict a variety of difficult company decisions and how board members arrived at them - helpful for those facing similar crises. After reading this book, you will have only one dilemma left: deciding which of Dunne’s solutions to try first.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which common dilemmas you’ll face as a member of a board of directors
  • How to trace these problems to their four basic sources
  • How to resolve them, in four steps
  • How other boards have handled similar situations


Dilemmas Defined
Dilemmas come in many forms. Some leaders equate dilemmas with disasters. To others, a dilemma is when you have to decide which of two good options is best. But when most directors use the word "dilemma," they mean, "A tricky spot with no immediately obvious conclusion...
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About the Author

Patrick Dunne is group communications director for the European venture capital firm 3i. He also wrote Running Board Meetings and the Non-Executive Directors’ Handbook. He is a visiting professor at Cranfield School of Management.

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