We use cookies to make this site as useful as possible. Read our cookie policy or ignore.

Boards should welcome diverse viewpoints

02 October 2017 by Henry Ker

Boards should welcome diverse viewpoints - Read more

Governance professionals must do more to bring those outside the boardroom into the conversation, says Henry Ker.

‘If everybody is thinking and behaving in exactly the same way, it’s utterly pointless.’

This is the view of one of the board members interviewed by Andrew Kakabadse for ICSA’s research on conflict and tension in the boardroom. It is also one echoed by Pavita Cooper of the CMI in our lead interview this month, as she discusses the problems facing organisations with a lack of diversity.

‘Those cultures have become cults,’ she says. ‘Everyone thinks the same, acts the same, they do not welcome any difference from the outside, and those businesses are often at risk.’

If everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid, no-one is offering constructive challenge. Instead, organisations should be looking for, as Cooper says, ‘multiple approaches, ways of thinking, and perspectives ... to get better balance. You get better outcomes around governance, risk and running the business.’

Complementing this debate is the new guidance by ICSA and the Investment Association, ‘The Stakeholder Voice in Board Decision Making’. The research was completed at the behest of the government and it looks at ways in which companies can effectively get the views of their stakeholders into the boardroom.

Chris Cummings, CEO of the Investment Association, says of the guidance: ‘Investors want companies to take decisions which will generate the best long-term value to their shareholders. To make such decisions, boards need to hear and take account of the views of the shareholders.’

While shareholders have traditional avenues of communication, groups such as workers have often been shut out. There has now been a shift in attitude. As the guidance says, ‘stakeholder engagement will strengthen the business and promote its long-term success to the benefit of stakeholders and shareholders alike’.

Boards must actively search for that valuable variety of viewpoints that can create healthy tension and improve decision making. Improving the diversity of the board and senior management, and welcoming in the views of stakeholders are both essential to this – and to ensuring success for the organisation.

Henry Ker is editor of Governance and Compliance

LATEST ARTICLES

Interview: David Halpern

Interview: David Halpern

15 April 2019

The chief executive of the Behavioural Insights Team talks about how psychological insights and small changes can help companies to make big gains. Read more...

Taking Steps

Taking Steps

15 April 2019

Robust corporate governance drives transparency and a distinct, underlying rationale behind every decision a company takes. Read more...

Cheating Ourselves

Cheating Ourselves

15 April 2019

US college bribery scandal shines a light on the price parents are willing to pay for their childrens’ education. Read more...

Farewell to Failures

Farewell to Failures

15 April 2019

Will the CMA’s investigation into funeral pricing be a death knell for poor governance in the sector?. Read more...

Dual Elements

Dual Elements

11 April 2019

The CMA and Furman Review propose wide-ranging reforms to UK competition law. Read more...

Banning so called ‘NDAs’?

Banning so called ‘NDAs’?

11 April 2019

After multiple scandals and the popularity of social media movements regarding sexual harassment, confidentiality clauses are being questioned. Read more...

Digital Age

Digital Age

11 April 2019

Board portals and board pack software packages allow secure access to company documents and provide a number of key benefits. Read more...

Crashing Down

Crashing Down

11 April 2019

There has been many auditing, reporting and governance reviews – but will they be any more effective this time around?. Read more...

Staying Aligned

Staying Aligned

11 April 2019

Compliance is a vital part of ensuring that organisations moves in the right direction, while creating added business value. Read more...

Alison Chan: I believe in transparency as a tool of good governance

Alison Chan: I believe in transparency as a tool of good governance

11 April 2019

Winner of the Governance Professional of the Year at the ICSA Awards 2018, Alison Chan discusses her route into the profession, her successes thus far and the main challenges she has encountered. Read more...

Have your say

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisements