The complexities and challenges faced by both organizations and businesses require boards to have an array of capabilities as their primary resource. The diversity of the board members gives the depth of insight, multiple perspectives and extensive experience required to have productive discussions that result in well-rounded choices.
Yet, many boards struggle to move from „nice to have“ to being a requirement. Often, the discussion of diversity in boardrooms revolves around social and ethnicity as well as gender however, the discussion needs to move beyond these categories to include a variety of professional backgrounds, skills and experiences.
To create a diverse board requires dedication and a shift in thought. Certain trustees do not want to change their traditional processes. For instance the tendency of board nominating panels to search for new members in the same locations. Boards can increase diversification by broadening their search possibilities to include a variety of communities, and sourcing candidates with specific expertise in areas of greatest need (for example, a consumer organization may be seeking a specialist in marketing or an international company might require directors with expertise in geopolitics) and developing connections with candidates who are historically underrepresented well before the need arises.
Trustees who report a more equitable board culture say that having the right mixture of professional and social diversity creates an environment where everyone’s opinions are respected. They explain that an inclusive board is better equipped to comprehend the complexities of issues facing their organization as well as those faced by its customers and other stakeholders.