We've been hearing about the lack of diversity on boards of directors for decades, but the face of the boardroom has barely changed. Maybe the time is upon us. You can hardly pick up a paper or read any governance media without seeing the "D" word these days - and, with good reason.
International research is showing the increased effectiveness of diverse boards. Shareholders are seeing a strong business case and even a fiduciary imperative to have more diverse boards. Potential employees and investors are wondering why they are being asked to buy into companies that talk the talk at the workforce level, but don't walk the walk on their own boards.
There are two options for organizations to consider:
Take a proactive approach to make board diversity a priority. The company decides on the right formula in its own circumstances and reaps the benefits of diverse points of view, ways of thinking, backgrounds and experiences.
Or, wait and watch for another couple of years, while no real change occurs. Companies will begin to feel the heat of withheld votes on current directors, because the boards don't reflect the communities the organization works in and serves. And, if they wait long enough, they can finally react when the regulators feel the need to take up the matter.