By Heidi J Diamond, CMO - Integral Board Group
Imagine my surprise on Monday when the Rabbi started off her sermon during the Rosh Hashanah service talking about Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Assault Awareness. October being a month that seemingly is dedicated to enormous women’s issues—Sexual and Domestic Violence Assault, Breast Cancer Awareness—(which of course, men too, can be afflicted by these issues), I thought it fitting to focus on women for a moment.
And, as it’s the Jewish New Year, and it’s a time of renewal, focus on prosperity and a sweet year ahead, I’m using the focus on women to opine for a moment why businesses and boards can benefit themselves tremendously, if they too, put a bit more of a focus on women.
It’s not my intention to bang the drum loudly as many of my sisters out there are doing an excellent job of fighting the good fight. I just mean to make a point or two about the value of diversity and why different can, indeed, be better!
The purpose of a Board of Directors is to support the Chief Executive’s plan, provide strategic oversight and governance and insure shareholders and/or investors that their best interests are being looked after and that, ideally, profitability will result. Past practice has often times been more of a mixture of same-ness in choosing a Board of Directors, and often one of familiarity. But it’s this sameness that has often times lead to ill formed ideas, rubber stamped approvals, and sad fates.
Responsibilities of a Board of Directors can fluctuate but frequently include the evaluation of risk and key opportunities, acting as counsel for implementing key strategic imperatives and oversight of the actions of the Chief Executive. So as to not belabor the point that Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus so famously made clear when the book was published in the early 90’s, we all now clearly recognize that us X chromosomes think differently than you Y chromosomes. And it’s those differences that add balance, discourse, perspective, varied views, range of experience and expertise, and diversification in thinking. As the noted author John Gray said in his earlier mentioned tome, “Not only do men and women communicate differently but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need, and appreciate differently.”
And, it goes without saying, diversification extends past just gender!
A good Board of Directors listens, contributes, challenges and can often push back. Those strengths aren’t limited to the stereotypical cronies that are often thought of for Board positions. Disruption, divergence and doing things a different way is proof positive for why blended is better. And so, this month, be bold on issues of Domestic and Sexual Assault, be bold on issues regarding Breast Cancer Awareness, be bold on blending your workplace and your Board of Directors. And best to all, Jews and non-Jews alike, for a sweet new year!
Heidi Diamond, is a Board Member of Integral Board Group. Integral Board Group (IBG) is a Board Service Provider (BSP) specializing in performance-based, board advisory services for small to mid-market companies in all verticals. Benefits of a Board as a Service (BaaS) include a single entity, accountable as a team that provides cohesive governance, and is specifically tied to a company’s performance. Integral improves business performance by providing seasoned advice in the areas that every business will face during all phases of its growth cycle.