AACN Chapter Leadership Development Workshop Case Study # 4 – Version 1

Case Study #4:

We’ve Always Done It This Way

(Fictitious) Chapter Name:

Grounded in Tradition Chapter

# of Chapter Members:


# of Chapter Officers and Board Members:

All board positions filled (president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, treasurer-elect); board positions filled with committee members.

Rural/Urban Area:

Urban chapter that crosses multiple hospital systems.

How active is this chapter?

Board and officers meet monthly with a handful of members attending occasionally except for large education offerings twice a year which result in boosting membership.

Background Information:

Well established chapter with long history of good standing with AACN. History in community of providing excellent education opportunities yearly.

Most members are not active in attending board meetings; however, membership remains high with discounts to members for education as an attraction.  

Conflict or Issues:

Board members have been recycled frequently through all board positions. History of difficulty of attracting new members to board.

Key members of board have been hesitant to change what has worked for the chapter in the past. Most communication is accomplished via U.S. mail with some members of the board not tech-savvy or able to access email.

Some new committee members have recently come on to the board asking for different communication tools, mostly electronic — email, Facebook, conference calls, updated website, PayPal.

Additionally, recent complaints have come to the attention of the president that the coordinator for vendors is not able to meet the needs of vendors who provide significant support for educational offerings. This is due to the fact that all communication is being done by paper without access to email.

When approached board member is unwilling to change process as "this is how we have always done it."

When offered assistance board member does not communicate with others and continues to work independently. At meetings she complains about the amount of work she has to do for this position as vendor coordinator.

Vendor support is less than expected as the education offering approaches. The day of the event vendors continue to complain as communication with board member is difficult and confrontational.

Things you need to know about this chapter:

This board member has been a well-respected member of the board with a long history with chapter. She has been a key member of the board and one of the chapter’s charter members.


Participants: Identify the HWE standard(s) that would apply to this scenario and how you would operationalize them as you consider possible solutions.

(X)  Skilled Communication
(X)  True Collaboration
(X)  Effective Decision Making
(X)  Appropriate Staffing
(X)  Meaningful Recognition
(X) Authentic Leadership

 Skilled Communication

  • Have crucial conversation with vendor coordinator to illuminate the reported issues and highlight HWE standards.
  • Demonstrate benefits for change (e.g., email, etc.).
  • Does she have access; is she afraid to be "out of her comfort zone?"
  • Why isn’t board comfortable with change?
  • CAT collaboration with like chapters that have done it.
  • Multimodel marketing-texting.
  • Unskilled communication is causing issue.

True Collaboration

  • Lack of collaboration is a barrier.
  • Hierarchy setup of chapter.
  • Need to engage members and vendors.
  • Strong personalities overpower quieter ones.

Effective Decision Making

  • Poor decision making affects finance.
  • Board members are resistant?
  • Start with email.
  • Pros/Cons of change: time, finance, fun.

Appropriate Staffing

  • Budget to get someone to set up electronic media if no one skilled with technology.
  • College student project.
  • Finance R/T snail mail.

Meaningful Recognition

  • No recognition of members’ contribution and ideas.
  • We are all AACN — Volunteer positions — recognize that!

Authentic Leadership

  • Board not demonstrating HWE leadership skills.
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