Shor t Takes
it’s only a 5 to 10 percent turnover
on boards. Sometimes people are
on boards 15, 18, 20 years, which
is great because I’m sure they know
the organization well, but at the same
time if you really believe in getting
different kinds of skills on the boards
and shorten that average tenure to
seven to 10 years, you’d get a bigger
pool of candidates. That means you’ll
get more gender diversity, ethnic
diversity, and diversity of thought.
Consulting: Why are boards drawing
from such a shallow candidate pool?
Fucci: It’s a comfort level thing. We
asked in the survey would you feel
comfortable having someone on the
board with no board experience.
While 95 percent of people agreed
they need more diversity, but
about half of them said they’d feel
uncomfortable having someone
on the board for whom it was their
first board. Everybody has to start
somewhere. So if you believe that, I
call it a cycle of uniformity, it’s going
to be really hard to break out of that.
Somebody’s going to have to take a
risk and say by putting Person X on
the board, and that person has the
following skillset, it’s actually going
to be better for them in the long run.
Consulting: What’s the negative
impact for boards lacking diversity?
Fucci: I always say, this is not a social
cause, it’s a business imperative.
Our survey respondents said they
believe by having diverse boards
they’d be able to manage disruption
better, and improve overall business
performance. Over 90 percent said
they believed greater board diversity
would enable those two things, so I
don’t actually understand why we’re
not getting more of it.
Consulting: Will we see a domino
effect once a few big firms’ boards
Fucci: I’m hoping that as boards start
adding diversity of skillsets and those
companies start performing well and
people start seeing that, we’ll have a
bit of a movement here. I’m hoping
that happens over the next five to 10
years, but I don’t think that’s going to
happen until there’s some courage in
the boardroom to make this a priority.