Currently, the situation on the boards of listed companies is not good from a diversity perspective. The proportion of women is small, the proportion of young people is small, the proportion of different nationalities is small. Here are a couple of figures on the proportion of women: women make up only 27% of all government seats, and only 7% of chairmen are women. Even for millennials, the situation is not good, even though many of them have already risen to run companies or large business units.
Fortunately, there are also a lot of companies with diverse governments.
Forget “women don’t want government” and other poor explanations
When I have spoken on this subject, the first counter-argument is that government action is interested women to such an extent as men. This is not the case and I can prove it through my startup. When people are free to share their career dreams and goals, the place of government rises high on the lists of many – including women and millennials.
The second argument relates to competence – it is argued that there are not yet enough women in management positions in companies. It is argued that the pool of female leaders would be too thin. When I think about my network and the many women who have risen high in organizations or started successful businesses, I can’t help but wonder about this argument. The range of expertise is really wide. Therefore, this argument does not seem to be valid either.
The third argument relates to the fact that young people have no experience and that board work requires a long career. At the moment, there are a lot of skilled and successful managers under the age of 40. Also, the millennials bring with them digital skills and a new kind of management expertise, which would enhance the diversity of government expertise.
I think governments should wake up to the fact that more and more understanding of the future is needed. There are also numerous studies on how diverse governments are doing better. A lot of talent goes untapped when some can’t get involved in piloting companies.
Think about what is the unique skill that you can bring to the table
The right kind of expertise is at the heart of board work. I Will not be elected because I’m a woman and millennial, but your expertise solves. So it’s not about wanting to be in government and therefore you should get in, you have to bring your valuable input to the table.
Appropriate experience can be gained in companies in management positions, such as as the head of a business unit. This is, of course, easier said than done, and such a position will not be achieved in an instant. If the government is your dream, you need to commit to it in the long run.
Entrepreneurship has also helped me. It is a very good basis for government work. When you’re in charge of everything in your company (and later you also learn to delegate responsibility), you also learn about the important strategic work that is done on the board.
Register with the Advisory Boards
Promotions in your workplace may not come quickly, and trying is not for everyone. However, there is another really good way to build the right expertise: the Advisory Board. The role of the Advisory Board is advisory and involves experts in various fields. Their role is to advise both the management team and other members of the company’s team in their respective areas of expertise, for example in connection with sales, marketing, social media, or finances. The Advisory Board is an informal body and does not make decisions on company matters. It is more of a sparring partner.
I worked in management positions, set up companies, and have served on the Advisory Board. The last of these is the easiest way to get started. As a consultant, you bring your expertise to the company and at the same relatively low threshold get to try out what such a role feels like. Sometimes it’s a kind of “shadow government”. Small businesses, on the other hand, maybe just one or two people sparring the management team in a particular area.
Develop your skills with courses
I have personally been to Harvard Business School’s “Making Corporate Boards More Effective” course. It was a very instructive experience for me, and it also showed why it is good for governments to be diverse.
I’ve heard a lot of good HHJ also a member of the Board of Directors Approved course. I haven’t done it myself, but I recommend developing your skills, and the courses are a very good start to this. In addition to HHJ, the Chamber of Commerce Approved Advisory Board Member course is also worth a look if you are interested in the role of advisor.
Say your goal out loud
I have received during my career a huge amount of encouragement from people around me when I have said my dreams and my goals out loud. I don’t think you can plan your path to the board of a listed company, but things can be done to help. To find the right people to talk to about it.
I also recommend looking for a mentor who can help you move forward. Spar with the guy on the board. If you don’t feel any, you can contact me too. I may be able to help or at least steer forward!