Corporate Board Diversity

Customers, investors and the general public are insisting that the board of directors of a business reflect the demographics of the community it serves. Diversity in the board can increase a board’s efficiency and improve its reputation as an employer. But diversity in a corporate boardroom could be interpreted differently by different boards and organizations.

The most widely used definition of diversity includes ethnicity and gender, however the benefits of diversity go beyond these basic characteristics. Research shows that boards with a more diverse background are less susceptible to groupthink. Directors with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives are able to better challenge each other’s perspectives to produce solid discussions, the possibilities and make more informed decisions.

It’s hard to argue with the need for more diversity in corporate boards but it isn’t easy for chairpersons and executives to identify the best candidates. Some advocacy groups offer lists of potential board candidates however they aren’t often in the networks of board chairs or haven’t been considered for the top management positions.

Boards can begin by reviewing their current member profile. They can then use their annual evaluations to eliminate members who aren’t delivering, and find new talent who represent the future state of the business. They can also use their advisors and consultants to identify individuals who aren’t part their group of directors.

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