ON DIRECTORSHIP is by PETER TUNJIC.

petertunjic.jpg

 a leading voice in the re-discovery of what corporations are and why they exist.

Opposites Distract: Why less bigotry is the solution to greater diversity

The solution to a problem is seldom found in the opposite to the symptom.

More risk management is not the answer to excessive risk taking.  The solution is less commercial stupidity.

Likewise, if boards are the proverbial male, stale and pale the answer is not to mandate more female directors. The solution is less bigotry. 

The opposite distracts from the cause of the problem.    By framing the solution by the symptom the board's shame is erased from the record -  whether its underwhelming commercial acumen that led up to the global financial crisis or the prejudice that homogenizes the boardroom.

Companies are now called on to attract more women candidates under cover of empirical research that shows women make better directors or boards with women make better decisions.   More troubling still is the suggestion that somehow it's the fault of women who lack the confidence to apply for board positions.

Almost absent in these calls is the responsibility of those who caused and perpetuated the improbable imbalance between men and women on boards.   These people keep their jobs.  Whilst women candidates must justify theirs.  

Women directors might perform better than men.   But my argument is that boards without bigotry perform best.   There is no competitive advantage in bias and prejudice and that's where we should act first if we are to see the best people on boards regardless of gender.

Twelve Ways to Increase Shareholder Value*

The One Question Every Director Should Ask