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Diversity In the Boardroom

Diversity In the Boardroom

Jacqueline Cousins

The need for greater diversity in the boardroom has never been greater than now, not because it is a hot topic, but rather for the sake of the relationship between the workforce and positive business performance. Jacqueline Cousins elaborates.
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Broadly speaking, boardroom diversity covers age, background, gender, and ethnicity as well as skills and experience. Diversity around the boardroom table should not be about meeting quotas, but rather about assisting with the acceleration of business growth by leveraging off the collective knowledge, skills and experience of a diversified board, which should help a corporation navigate a constantly changing market. Encouragingly, corporate board diversity has grown steadily over the past two decades.
Diversity brings with it the opportunity to assess both internal and external difficulties from all perspectives, driving a more effective decision-making process. Having said this, it is critical that boards ensure that the correct kind of diversity is attracted and a collaborative culture developed.
Having a diverse set of skills and attributes, rather than overlapping or redundant qualities, assists the board significantly with fulfilling its duties of conducting good corporate governance and strategic oversight. A well-curated assortment of competencies, priorities and insights are invaluable resources when it comes to a diversified board.

Additional benefits of a diversified board include:

  • Healthy debates which can lead to better decision-making processes
  • A reflection of the real world – something to which every company should be sensitive
  • Divergent backgrounds which mean tackling the same idea in different ways
  • Great ideas which often come from disruption of the status quo
  • Varied counsel from a plethora of authorities
  • Improved reputation and brand

Boards are not supposed to be in full agreement at all times, each board member brings their own personal background and experience, offering individual opinions, technical solutions and specialized perspectives. Board compositions diverse in perspective as well as in appearance signify a quality board, as the competitiveness of companies and long-term success of the economy depend on it.
Therefore, perspective diversity does matter, it leads to innovation, better risk management and stronger connections in a rapidly changing global economy. A diverse board is better able to thrive.

Written exclusively for Moore South Africa by Jacqueline Cousins from Resolve Corporate Services