Goodbye to groupthink

Jill Ader

Jill Ader Egon Zehnder, London

German Herrera

German Herrera Egon Zehnder, Miami

Diversified perspectives make for better solutions

The issue of board diversity – or the lack of it – is commanding widespread attention in the media, from policymakers, and amongst business leaders. Despite recent improvements, most corporate boards around the world remain homogenous to a high degree: their members are typically drawn from the company’s home country, have similar career backgrounds, and are overwhelmingly male. Board diversity is much more than simply a question of fairness. There is considerable evidence that overly homogenous boards can find themselves trapped in groupthink, missing out on fresh insights and ideas – and that a lack of board diversity can therefore impact negatively on company performance.

What is to be done? In our experience, the greatest barrier to strengthening board diversity is a search and selection approach that is too narrowly focused on candidates with previous board experience – and insufficiently bold and systematic in seeking out excellent candidates from a wider pool. Even the quotas now in place in many countries will not necessarily break through this barrier; countries with mandatory percentages of female board membership typically see a limited pool of senior women holding multiple directorships.

In this article we show how companies can widen their sights to identify outstanding board candidates who are currently below the radar, bringing diversity of perspective where it is most relevant to corporate strategy, operations, and markets. Board diversity can and should be transformed from a thorny problem into a solution that unlocks competitive advantage.

Read full article Goodbye to groupthink in THE FOCUS edition on “Diversity and Inclusion”.

Jill Ader

Jill Ader Egon Zehnder, London

German Herrera

German Herrera Egon Zehnder, Miami

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