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Lead Inclusive Change from Your Role

governance transition Nov 22, 2023

- By ChatGPT (Edited by Jane Halford)

In the dynamic environment of a boardroom, the advantages each member brings from their life, career, and education can be pivotal in fostering positive change. This is particularly true when it comes to creating a more inclusive, effective, and high-performing board. Let's explore how individuals in three key roles – Board Chair, Board Member, and CEO – can apply these concepts to make a substantial impact.

Board Chair: Championing Diversity and Inclusive Discussion

The Board Chair plays a critical role in shaping the board's culture. Here’s how they can leverage their position:

  • Reviewing Board Composition: They can initiate and lead efforts to ensure the board is diverse, representing a range of perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Fostering Open Dialogue: Creating an environment where every board member feels comfortable sharing ideas and experiences is crucial.
  • Modeling Inclusive Behavior: By demonstrating inclusive behavior, the Board Chair sets a standard for others, promoting a culture of respect and openness.


Board Member: Utilizing Expertise for Inclusive Perspectives

Board Members, with their diverse backgrounds and expertise, are in a prime position to influence inclusivity:

  • Advocating for Inclusion in Key Areas: Whether their expertise lies in finance, technology, or any other sector, they can champion initiatives that promote inclusivity within these domains.
  • Sharing Diverse Insights: Their unique experiences can provide invaluable perspectives, aiding the board in making well-rounded decisions.
  • Supporting Diverse Recruitment Practices: They can advocate for and contribute to a recruitment process that values a variety of backgrounds and experiences.


CEO: Setting the Tone for an Inclusive Organizational Culture

The CEO has a unique opportunity to influence the organization from their position:

  • Encouraging Diverse Voices in Board Discussions: The CEO can seek diversity of thought during meeting topics presented by the management team or themselves as well as encourage the same from the board chair and other board members.
  • Implementing Mentorship Programs: They can use their leadership position to empower individuals from less represented backgrounds through mentorship and development programs and actions.
  • Policy Advocacy and Implementation: As a leader, the CEO is in a position to advocate for and implement policies that promote diversity and inclusivity across the organization.


Common Strategies Across Roles

  • Giving Space to Speak: Ensuring that quieter board members have opportunities to voice their thoughts is essential.
  • Acknowledging Contributions: Recognizing the ideas and efforts of all members fosters a culture of respect and appreciation.
  • Challenging Traditional Recruitment: Working collectively to ensure that board recruitment processes are inclusive, bringing in diverse talents and perspectives.
  • Active Listening and Learning: Actively listening to and learning from the experiences of others is key in valuing every perspective.

By recognizing and utilizing their individual advantages, those in these key roles can lead in creating a board culture that is inclusive and leverages the full potential of its diverse members. This approach not only enhances their respective organizations but also sets a standard for leadership that champions meaningful and positive change.

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