What I’m Reading: You Say You Want a More Diverse Board. Here’s How to Make it Happen.

Basket of Pens


By Lyn Turknett

Co-founder & Co-chair, Turknett Leadership Group

Harvard Business Review
You Say You Want a More Diverse Board. Here’s How to Make it Happen.
by Maria Moats & Paul DeNicola

March 11, 2021

This is a really helpful article with specific recommendations for achieving a more diverse board. It’s organized around 4 reasons (or excuses) given in a study for not having a diverse board, with countermeasures for each:

1. Low turnover on the board – implement proactive policies to decrease tenure, promote turnover, emphasize succession planning.

2. Inertia – only 34% of respondents felt racial/ethnic diversity was “very important”; 47% rated gender diversity as “very important.” Institutional investors have already been making their positions known; directors need to recognize that calls for board diversity have reached a tipping point.

3. Limited candidate pools – the authors say that they have board-ready candidates from under-represented groups. They also suggest expanding the search below C-level and including active executives as candidates, not just retired candidates.

4. Inadequate Succession Planning – Don’t wait until a director is leaving to search. Create succession plans that are shared with the full board before they are needed. This lets everyone remain involved in the process – and gives all the opportunity to source diverse candidates.