Managing Board Performance in Diversity

Diversity in its extended meaning includes diversity beyond the common observable attributes of race, colour, age, gender, language, culture and religion. We use diversity to include attributes like personality, attitude, aptitude, abilities, leadership style, decision making approach, professional and life experiences. A good Board should seek diversity in all these aspects. Diversity is a strength to be leveraged. The challenge is how can a Board build diversity when there is limited supply; and then leverage diversity as a strength. My presentation will talk about why diversity is important and why organizations
should build diversity in their Board.

This presentation will first describe what good performance in a Board means. Is there any correlation between diversity and Board performance? In the first part I will discuss practical tools for Boards that will enable them to collaborate like a high performing team by leveraging diversity. Some interesting but not commonly talked about aspects of leveraging high performance from your Board will be presented. These will include strategies such as recognizing diversity as an asset, building respect and sensitivity towards individual differences, and a leader’s role in facilitating decisions in a diverse collective.

The second part of my presentation will touch on how to encourage and build diversity in an organization. What approach and strategy can an organization use to build diversity? What does research say about diversity management programs, what works in diversity management and what does not. For example, awareness programs alone don’t change either diversity or tolerance towards diversity. Diversity works when people know they are being watched. We will discuss how trust and a shared mindset irrespective of individual backgrounds is the most important attribute for creating a high performing collaboration among Board members.

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