Breakfast at Cassie’s: A Case Study in Organizational Intrigue

Cast of Characters

Kim W., Agency Assistant Director
Stu L., Member of the board of directors
Bert S., Long time agency CEO
Janice H., Officer of the board and a major contributor

The Conversation

It’s 8 AM at Cassie’s Patisserie and Coffee Bar. The agency offices are closed for Succot. Kim W., Assistant Director, is meeting with board member Stu L. to review the final draft of an organizational Conflict of Interest policy, a project they have been working on for over a month. Kim has been impressed with Stu’s keen understanding of the issues and his sharp grasp of real world dynamics. No wonder, she thinks, he was the first Jew to make partner at his white shoe law firm. Kim is also feeling good about her own substantive contribution to the project. She was, as usual, a force in the committee process, had stood her ground more than once, learned a great deal and it had even been fun.

The working part of their meeting concluded, Stu makes the following statement.

“Kim, you’re a good egg and everyone on the board thinks that you are a great asset to the organization. I know Janice thinks highly of you and if, and when, she becomes President is looking forward to working closely with you. Bert did a great job in his 15 years here but there are many changes needed. I know you have had a great relationship with him. I’m also guessing you don’t always see eye to eye. You should reach out to Janice; she has a lot of great ideas. And, by the way, this conversation is, of course, just between us”.

Kim finds herself biting her lip slightly, smiles, and replies, “…

What should Kim say and what should she do?

Readers are invited to respond in the comments section below.

This case study was prepared by Bob Hyfler a veteran Jewish communal executive and an organizational consultant. He can be reached at