Term limits is just one major reason why boardroom diversity is remains a challenge in the corporate board sphere these days, says Dale Jones, President and CEO of Diversified Search.
Jones recently sat down with Corporate Board Member editor-in-chief Dan Bigman to talk about what’s holding back boardroom diversity, how boards can overcome these challenges, and more. “Most boards in the U.S., unlike in Europe, don’t have term limits. As a result, you don’t have as much fluidity around the movement of people on boards, in order to bring in new and fresh blood into the boardroom.”
Another reason for the lack of boardroom diversity, Jones says, is the fact that most companies are “not creative enough to go outside the box” and think of people not on the radar screen. He adds that most boards are going for sitting CEOs and CFOs of public companies and there aren’t a ton of diverse people in those roles.
“As a result, if you are wedded to a sitting CEO or a sitting CFO, there are just not enough leaders who are diverse who can fill that void,” Jones says.
Here are a few other takeaways from the conversation:
1) Look for digital natives, not digital immigrants. With the wave of digital transformation impacting business, it’s imperative that boards find people that understand robotics, machine learning, 3D printing and other advanced technologies.
2) “Go where they are,” in order to find directors with unique and important skillsets. For instance, when looking to add a director adept in digital transformation, boards must look in different places—tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas, and Boston; companies on the cutting edge.
3) You need a narrative. Whether it’s diversifying your board with more women, people of color, or younger digital natives, Jones says boards need to know why this person is essential to helping the company tell its story.
Click above to watch the entire interview.