Achieving Board Diversity

The challenges and complexities that organizations and businesses face require boards to have the broadest range of skills as their primary resource. Different board members offer the depth of knowledge, the variety of perspectives, and the wealth of experiences required for productive discussions that lead to well-rounded and informed decisions.

Many boards still struggle to move from “nice-to-have” to a necessity. The discussion about diversity in boardrooms often focuses on ethnicity, social and cultural diversity as well as gender. However it is vital to broaden the discussion to include a range of professional backgrounds and qualifications.

To achieve a diverse board, you need dedication and a shift in the way we think. Certain trustees do not want to reconsider their old procedures. For example, the tendency of nominating boards to search for new members in the same areas. Boards can diversify their membership by broadening their search horizons and including diverse communities. They can also recruit candidates with specific expertise on particular areas that the business is most in need of (for instance, an organization focused on marketing may require candidates who are knowledgeable about geopolitics, or a multinational company may require directors with a geopolitical background), as well as making connections prior to when the need arises historically underrepresented candidates.

Trustees who report having an open and inclusive board culture say that having the appropriate mix of social and professional diversity can create an environment on the board where everyone’s opinions are respected. They say that a diverse board is better equipped to comprehend the complex issues that confront their company, as well as those of their customers and other stakeholders.

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