Skills and Diversity

Greater female presence on boards is a disease!

Now there’s a headline to get you reading further…

It’s actually true, but in a wholly positive sense.

It is the major finding of significant research into understanding the primary drivers behind women’s participation on boards across Australia’s ASX200 companies.

Conducted against the disappointing backdrop of fewer than hoped for Australian companies reaching the tipping point of 30 per cent female representation – where it stops being tokenism and starts making a real difference in areas like innovation – by the end of FY 2018, the research found that the only significant predictor that boards hit the 30 per cent target is that they have a director who sits on another board that has already achieved the milestone. Continue reading

Blaming poor performance on diversity just doesn’t cut it in 2018!

Board diversity, always a subject of interest and debate, is again hugely topical, with some of what has emerged from the current Royal Commission into our banking and financial institutions.

The topicality this time is driven by what I would like to think is pure coincidence but, sadly, I fear has plenty to do with something far more sinister and murky – and it’s that latent misogyny still has a pulse in corporate Australia.

The recent backlash on female board members as evidenced at AMP has seen some return to the hoary old argument that the travails of a few of our financial institutions can be traced back to society’s push for gender equality.
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If gender diversity is broke, fix it!

It was Albert Einstein who once famously said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome was tantamount to insanity.

And his sage words should be heeded in the gender diversity debate where, despite years of well-intentioned initiatives to close the gender gap on boards and achieve greater diversity, only marginal improvements have been achieved – especially given the time, effort and money ploughed into these programs.

In fact, in a strictly business context, returns on investment of this nature would soon see companies out of existence.

This is why I found a recent article on so informative.
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A new age of enlightenment for boards

Getting in the heads of the younger generation, talking in a language they speak and generally honing in on all those hot buttons that get them charged up, passionate, excited and engaged seems to be a perennial moan among people of our generation.

And, doubtless, the generations before, when confronted by we baby-boomers back in our salad days…and before our time too, probably all the way back to when Adam was a boy.

What’s more, it’s a challenge that goes way beyond the confines of the dinner table or social circuit discussions of the more mature generation and is increasingly being played out at board level, both in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.
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Success comes with seeing ourselves as others see us

The famous Scottish poet and lyricist Robbie Burns is probably best known for penning the words of “Auld Lang Syne”, cheerfully muttered and spluttered at numerous New Year’s parties around the world.

What, you might well ask, has this to do with governance?  Well, the man also known as the Bard of Ayreshire happened to write another poem entitled “To a Louse” which carried the immortal line “O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”

And I guess that’s where governance – and we at Governance Matters – comes in, with our Board Skill Set and Diversity Assessment.

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No women, no high!

I’m just taking a momentary break in our ten part blog series on what makes a director effective because of recent Australian research…..

I recall a number of years back and when the lonely female on one particular board, the chair was prone to saying things like “…let’s get the violins out…” whenever I raised gender issues or distributed articles on corporate diversity.

Well, I’m sure he was well and truly rosin up the bow when respected new research was published just last month highlighting that those Australian companies with at least 25 per cent female boards perform more than seven per cent better than those with all-male boards.

The research, by the Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation and Infinitas Asset Management, also found that while the level of gender diversity is “frustratingly low”, it is growing, with 63 companies in March 2015 achieving the 25 per cent threshold compared with just 15 in mid-2010.
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Workout: learning the keys to board life

Article published in the Australian Business Review, 8 November, 2014
by Verity Edwards

Click Here

Path to Board Positions Paved with Honesty, Discipline and Hard Work

News Release for THE AUSTRALIAN
September 16, 2014

Forget the glamour and prestige of a board position.

Yes, it’s a great professional achievement, it opens up enormous opportunity and there are plenty of rewards, but getting onto a board – especially if you’re a novice – and then serving on it and doing it justice takes a lot of honesty, discipline, dedication and downright hard work.

One of the country’s preeminent governance experts, Kate Costello, whose company, Governance Matters, has been at the forefront of improving corporate governance practices and board performance for more than two decades, believes too many people are captivated by the illusion of a board position being all about glamour.

They pursue the post for the wrong reasons, they don’t fully understand the machinations of a board and they invariably become disillusioned when the mythical magic fails to materialise.
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If there’s ‘an elephant in the (board)room’, let’s confront it!

There’s an expression that’s become part of the corporate-speak lexicon in recent times and while I’m still now sure how it sits with me, I can say with a great deal of certainty that it pretty much sums up what I’d like to explore today.

The elephant in the room…

Yes, we’ve all heard it and understand it means that large, looming issue that we’re too frightened to address, that we choose rather to tiptoe around in meek fashion. Better still, we pretend it’s not even there.
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