What Boards Will [hopefully] Look Like in 10 Years
Boards are not the first place that comes to mind when you think about how they have changed in the past and will change in the future. When most people think of boards they usually think of old, stuffy men.
From experience, I have unfortunately not seen much change in the boardroom over my past three years as a company director.
Boards will need to change in the future, and I am predicting that they will change in the following four ways over the next ten years.
The boards of the future will be:
More Diverse (and not just of the gendered type)
Much has been done to change the perception and encourage women to get on boards. This positive and proactive push has seen steady increases in female representation at the director level.
Over the next 10 years, the spotlight on boardroom diversity will broaden. We will start to see an emphasis being placed on ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic background, disability, age, experience, professional background, and skills of directors.
Boards will start to truly reflect their employee and customer bases, and will use the strategic advantages that diverse perspectives bring to the organisation.
Not only will the use of technology within the organisation increase (yes, there is still room to move within some businesses); the use of technology within the boardroom will also increase.
Consider software and programs for managing board and committee meeting papers (such as Our Cat Herder), and using technology to include directors who are unable to attend the meeting face-to-face (such as Skype). The use of these tools will increase as directors get more comfortable with technology, particularly with the next generation and younger people starting to enter the boardroom.
Technology will also allow boards to recruit new members beyond the geographic location in which they are based. This will open up the opportunity for boards to draw from a much larger candidate pool and be more strategic about the new directors they recruit.
Looking for a director with a very unique, niche skill, or is the organisation looking to export into China? Finding and recruiting these directors will be easier when you have the whole world to chose from.
The above three trends will make way for a situation where board seats become much more competitive – as a board hopeful, you will now have to stand out on a broader, global scale in order to gain a board seat. Additionally, with accessible education that Get on Board is introducing for new and aspiring company directors, the future board will be one that is much more sophisticated.
Greater education of board members and company directors will lead to better-informed directors, which will lead to higher performing boards. More sophisticated directors will only bring on to the board new directors who meet the new minimum standards. And so on and so on, as the system reinforces itself.
Furthermore, the push for greater transparency and adherence to legislation will see organisations that don’t have sophisticated boards with good governance practices setting themselves up for failure.
The successful boards of the future will start to look and act differently to what they do now. I see that the business environment – and the people within it – now and in ten years will require no less than this.
What do you see the board of the future looking like?