Now that’s what I call an entrance it may not have endeared her to 90% of those round the table and it may have been instantly dismissed by the majority as unnecessary and perhaps even provocative, but it made me think – at the expense of missing the following exchanges, (aka banter) as I mentally marked myself against being:
- Male – tick
- Pale – she has a point I’m white and I’ve not seen the sun for months.
- Stale – ouch!
I know it could have been her nerves or perhaps her icebreaker on entering a room full of males (in 2018 there were just 30 women in full-time executive roles at FTSE 250 firms, down from 38 in 2017) but at that particular moment in time I was ruminating about the stale.
I don’t regard myself as stale, and like the other male, pale and stale/s in the room I had invested in that day’s Leadership workshop to avoid becoming stale!
What does your board look like?
Prior to life as The Value Innovator I worked for some very large companies in terms of turnover, employees, sites, countries; and sat in boardrooms for 20 years plus AND in all that time the average board was 81% male and pale but not necessarily stale.
But I would say that wouldn’t I – Turkeys voting for Christmas or Those in power voting to change the electoral system – it ain’t gonna happen!
So, here’s my back of the envelope 7 question Stale Test for you to (more) objectively assess the health of your boardroom – Turkeys and Politicians need not participate!
Take your own stale test
- Length of time each individual has spent on the board.
- Relevance of their expertise to the needs / future of the business.
- Breadth of their experience – could be a single years’ experience repeated over and over for the last 7 years.
- Demonstrable willingness to learn, improve, develop, and embrace change
- Contribution to the business outside their functional responsibility.
- Effectiveness as a board member – company & sector knowledge, communication skills, wisdom and vision.
- Take full Cabinet responsibility for the difficult decisions as well as the popular.
There may be lots of reasons why your board has become male, pale and stale; but that need not be the case – the most effective boards are those that evolve to meet the needs of their stakeholders, employees, and customers.