The demand for diversity on boards has never been greater, but the way in which boards view diversity has morphed significantly in recent years. Let’s fast-forward beyond the traditional discussion of the value that diverse skills and experience bring to board decision making. That case has already been made—quantified financially in several studies—and is now generally accepted.
The change currently underway is the way in which boards are defining diversity. That often means broader, less conventional terms that not only account for gender and people of color, but also include geographic diversity and the diversity of age or thought that is often linked with changing technological expertise, customer profiles, or new delivery channels. The particular focus and criteria should be determined by a company’s strategic priorities and the attendant skills and experience they require of the board.
The overarching goal is to enhance the board’s ability to make better informed key decisions. This approach means boards are thinking seriously about how to leverage their strength as a competitive weapon—making strategic board appointments that augment the board’s team capabilities.