Diversity is a topic that is bound to generate discussion. There are countries such as the UK that require data to be published on the number of women in management roles as well as the gender pay gap. This makes for great discussion, but for a middle aged man why should I really care, the current system is good for me … right?
If I was a short-term thinker, I would not support the calls for diversity, I would say nothing or better still support the ‘best person for the job as long as it’s a bloke’ movement. But that’s not realistic or good for business.
I believe strongly in diversity, not just from a gender perspective, but also from an age, functional background and multicultural perspective. There are so many opportunities that are missed due to leaders such as senior managers and boards just not understanding the benefits that different perspectives or outside-the-box thinking brings. Yes, we might need to bring more people in (or at least get their opinions) on key strategic decisions, we might need to spend a bit more time fully discussing the options and understanding everyone’s perspective, and we might need to spend a bit more money at the beginning to make all these things happen, but consider the potential benefits—a great strategy/decision that has been fully thought out and takes into consideration all the potential users of the product or service—surely that gives us more chance of success.
It is a lesson to be learned from the great 80s comedy movie ‘Big’ starring Tom Hanks. The toy store thrives because it hires someone who is actually a child to assist in the product development (If you don’t know the story line very briefly: a boy wishes to be big, wish granted he gets an adult body, shenanigans occur, he becomes friends with a large toy shop owner and gets a job in toy store, etc. But, eventually he wishes to be a boy again).
There is another more selfish reason for me to support diversity, two daughters who I want to have no impediments in their quest to either be Chair of Telstra, CEO of Worley, Prime Minister or a carpenter.
Effective Governance sees its role as providing advice and support to boards in order to develop a robust governance framework based on an agreed culture of compliance with the law and alignment with values.