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Saturday, 24th February 2024


Boards need to learn from a peacock!

The latest report on reforms in the UK Boardroom makes dire reading – the Davies Report says nothing about the lack of ethnic diversity and focuses on the need for more women, without making the changes mandatory – Boards have to disclose or justify why they have so few women. The statistics are dire – less than 12.5% of Board directors of FTSE 100 are women, and if we look at FTSE 250, there are only 8% women. And dont even ask about the ethnic statistics as they are virtually non-existent. Boards clearly do not reflect wider society and there are glass ceilings. The Davies Report is a whitewash - the original remit of diversity has become completely subverted by the focus solely on women.

In a brilliant article by Premier Farnell CEO Harriet Green in the Telegraph, she highlights how shocking and out of date British leadership and Board culture is for our times. This is the crux of the issue – we need better leadership, more diversity, and a culture which is genuinely inclusive and NOT exclusive. At Diverse Ethics, we have long argued for this change in all kinds of large organisations in Britain, private and public. The Davies Report barely touched on the leadership values and culture – it was an ant released to subdue a Lion. It is clear that the establishment does not want change – they just want to appear to do something.

Harriet Green says that the result of such behaviour is huge competitive disadvantage. Again at Diverse Ethics, we have developed very innovative ways of changing the mindsets of leaders, demonstrating how the very concept of leadership itself has diverse histories and roots, and continue to bring about a huge shift in the horizons of leaders. Until such work is done, we feel Corporate Britain will not change, and leaders will stay in their closed minds. And all of us are paying the price for this. We are about to launch our unique new product Cultivating Borderless Minds, at Channel 4, our client.

One of the biggest challenges is the pace of globalisation, which is also a huge opportunity given the richness of Britain’s ethnic professionals and the huge talent they bring – both men and women. How can Britain justify having some of the largest multinationals in the world, with Directors all coming from Anglo-Saxon cultures, and mostly male, in 2011! This is the old colonial mindset, where power has to be closed, and democracy paid lip service at best. The latest Banking fiasco was led by mono-cultural minds, and we are all paying the huge price for this.

In the phrase Diverse Ethics, we are linking directly ethics with diversity. The lack of women in the Boardroom is due to a lack of genuine respect for people who look and dress different – leadership values are primarily selfish and material. How surprising is this given the big problems of mental health, global warming and climate change, and the rise in inequality in society? Where has there been a debate in Banking Ethics launched by the Bankers after the fiasco? I am shocked by the distinct lack of leadership provide by Business bosses in Britain today. And as a society, I know we definitely do not deserve the leaders we have inherited. Harriet Green is absolutely right in calling for radical change.

As time passes, we see more clearly the need for the vision and expertise of the team at Diverse Ethics. This has huge transformative potential, and to see our products, projects and thinking, simply browse through our web portal and discover for yourself how we are shifting the landscape.

Dr. Atul K. Shah is founder and CEO of Diverse Ethics. He is an accomplished writer, speaker and broadcaster.

Article added on 2nd March 2011 at 11:32am
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