Five Good Ideas ®
Diversifying Your Board: Why It’s Good and How to Do It
Published on 20/10/2011
To diversify a board, you should look beyond traditional skills and knowledge for a competency-based board. You should deliberate not only what your board’s current gaps are, but what the future needs will be. A well articulated strategic plan with broad stakeholder engagement sets the direction for the organization and the priorities you want to focus on over the next number of years. This will inform you of the necessary mix of sector/industry knowledge/skills to move the organization forward. The governance structure and membership is a dynamic process that requires foresight and insight before you can exercise oversight.
5 Good Ideas
- A well articulated strategic plan with broad stakeholder engagement sets the direction for the organization and the priorities they want to focus on over the next number of years.
- Develop a board matrix – an objective analysis of current make-up, future needs/gaps in governance competency, expected turn-over, board structure and membership.
- Determine scope of search and outreach based on projected needs. Do use networks of board members and stakeholders.
- Develop a transparent recruitment process. Allow for a number of months for sourcing and interviewing. Active recruitment for fit is everyone’s job, particularly the Executive of the Board.
- Organize Board interviews with questions that include what value an individual brings to the organization, why the individual is interested to serve, understanding of board and member role and duties.
5 Good Resources
- Maytree Foundation sponsored “Essentials of Governance for Public Sector Boards”
- Canadian Society of Association Management, a series of ten booklets on Board Governance
- Canadian Board Diversity Council, 2010 Annual Report Card
- Ontario Hospital Association, Guide to Good Governance
- Institute of Corporate Directors, Rotman School of Management, Not- for-Profit Governance Program
Helen Hayward is an organizational effectiveness consultant for public and non-profit sectors. She specializes in board governance, strategic planning and organizational change that integrates diversity into what an organization does and how it behaves. She is a partner at Western Management Consultants, a national boutique firm with offices in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. She has extensive board leadership experience as past Chair of the Boards of Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. She has chaired CEO Search Committees, Governance and Nominations Committees, ensuring diversity is an integral part of decision-making for leadership roles. She brings her passion and commitment to diversity as frequent speaker on board diversity, recruitment and development for Maytree sponsored events, non-profit agencies, and professional services associations. She is a lifelong mentor to young professionals and newcomers. Professionally, she is a Certified Management Consultant and a Certified Executive Coach.