In light of new global trends and business imperatives, the need for diversity of experience,
background and perspective has become an important board mandate. Boards have
a responsibility to prepare for the future of their organizations and to take the strategic
actions necessary to meet shifting stakeholder demands and adapt to the rapidly changing
environment in which their companies compete.
This tool—a discussion guide by the National Association of Corporate Directors
(NACD)— intends to help boards in the earliest stages of conversation about board diversity.
Initially published in the NACD Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on The Diverse
Board: Moving From Interest to Action, it can help jump-start a healthy, helpful dialogue.
This guide can also be helpful to boards that have already begun discussing diversity but
need to refocus their conversation.
- Prepare For Diversity Discussion
Place diversity on the meeting agenda as a discussion topic.- Also in advance of the meeting, send out a list of questions and/or topics to be discussed.
The outline below lists questions that may be discussed.
– In advance of the meeting, send out copies of reference materials, such as the Blue Ribbon
Commission report and any others deemed important by the chair of the governance and
Hold Diversity Discussions
Sample questions to help a board prepare to discuss, select and implement, and disclose
How does this board define diversity? Does our definition include gender and race/ethnicity?
If not, why not? Do we wish to change our definition of diversity?
● What type of perspectives or backgrounds will help in the formulation and fulfillment of
our strategic objectives?
● Do we understand the (shifting) expectations of our most important stakeholders regarding
● Does our company value diversity as a means to competitiveness?
● Do our board’s current diversity definitions and practices differ significantly from those employed by management to run the company