Posted on April 28th, 2020
Diversity refers to the presence of people who, as a group, have a wide range of characteristics, seen and unseen, which they were born or have acquired. These characteristics may include their gender identity, race or ethnicity, military or veteran status, LGBTQ+ status, disability status, and more.
Today’s trend in corporate governance is creating a diverse Board of Directors that not only breaks the Caucasian male stereotype, but also moves the corporation toward greater success. Regardless of how accomplished a board is, to be effective, it also must be diverse. Many more companies need to diversify for the purpose of strengthening their company boards.
On January 1, 2020, California law said that all locally headquartered publicly traded companies must have at least one female director by 2020. While not mandated everywhere yet, increasing gender diversity on corporate boards, is a sweeping trend across America. Further, globally, Norway, Spain, France, and Iceland all have laws requiring that women comprise at least 40% of boards at publicly listed companies.
Many board members already understand that a homogeneous board can result in narrow sightedness and promote groupthink. Alternatively, a heterogeneous board of individuals with a variety of skills, perspectives, backgrounds, and resources promotes creativity and innovation. This can play an important role in accomplishing the organization’s mission, while increasing the understanding of constituents and community needs.
The best boards are the most diverse boards. Having a broad range of collective attributes, rather than overlapping or redundant qualities, helps the board significantly in fulfilling its responsibilities of providing good corporate governance and strategic oversight.
Robust discussions about challenging issues require deep insight, multiple angles and collective experience. Great ideas often emerge when board discussions disrupt common thinking patterns. Having a wide range of perspectives represented in the boardroom is critical to effective corporate governance. Being able to draw upon a diverse set of competencies and knowledge is essential if boards are to successfully address the complex issues their companies face.
The goal should not be to just conduct “checking the box” initiatives and “tokenism” for the sake of board diversity. Your diversity candidates should be among the nation’s strongest leaders. You will need to recruit for skills, not for “look.” The goal is to diversify for the purpose of strengthening their company boards.
Getting this right candidate is crucial to the success of your business and if you have any doubt of your ability to conduct a successful diversity search then consider bringing in an experienced expert. The expert you bring in should have an expansive network of contacts in the industry you work in.
CEO Search Partners is an industry specialist, with a Board of Directors practice. Our firm is a top industry specialized retained executive search firm with deep CEO and President relationships.
If you would like to discuss the approach CEO Search Partners would take, please call us at (773) 528-5967 and ask to speak with our CEO and founder Robin Copping.