Finding the key for success in business performance is something
most companies strive for. While it may sound like something that
results from a long, process driven procedure, in reality, it can
be achieved by board members taking a few simple but meaningful
At our recent roundtable event, hosted in partnership with
Deloitte and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, we
highlighted to both existing and aspiring board members from a
range of sectors that the answer to ensuring successful business
performance and innovation lies with a diverse board.
Jay Bevington, Partner at Deloitte leading the Board Advisory
Practice, spoke at the event and drew on various observations from
his experience in assessing board performance. He highlighted that
effective boards have many characteristics in common, these
A selection of the right people with
a diverse range of skills and experiences;
A board that focuses on outcomes and
is aware of its impact and the value it adds;
For board members to truly understand
why the organisation is successful;
Ensuring the board has clear lines of
communication with a range of stakeholders from employees to
A board that is able to apply the
right balance between support and challenge (a good board is able
to do both);
To be willing and able to
self-reflect, review and develop;
Having an effective chair and
Changing the Chemistry aims to engage, educate
and connect potential board members to not only improve business
performance and innovation, but also to help streamline
organisational processes. When recruiting and appointing to the
board, it is important to remember that a broad set of viewpoints,
skills and experiences can maximise performance.
During our roundtable event, we asked: "What does diversity
mean?" The response created lively discussion and we talked
about what works well in boardrooms, drawing on examples of
innovation such as rotational members and board shadowing.
Another interesting aspect of our discussion was the link
between increased diversity (gender and ethnicity) and financial
performance. We also talked about the challenges that come from a
homogeneous board, group thinking and the impact of unconscious bias. Changing the Chemistry
believes boards have a responsibility to seek out diverse
candidates and adopt appropriate recruitment procedures to bring
real benefits to business.
In terms of who's already succeeding, some people considered
public sector boards to be amongst those that had made the most
progress. This was down to greater transparency and accessibility
to different roles. In the private sector, many agreed that there
is work to be done and that there's a reliance on existing
networks which often comprise of like-minded individuals. There was
a discussion as to whether the private sector was guilty of
unconscious bias, recruiting individuals who look and sound like
existing members and excluding those who don't fit what is
considered to be the 'norm'.
Attendees left the evening with a task: to think about what one
step they could take within their organisations to promote
diversity of thought in the boardroom. This should be viewed as a
shared responsibility as we believe it's the key to increasing
efficiency and functionality both inside and outside the
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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