Our nation is emerging from a double crisis—the pandemic and social justice reawakening. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for corporate boards and C-suite executives to reexamine their competitive strategies.
They must do what they can to quickly recover profitability, adapt to rapidly changing customer needs, drive accountability and action on diversity and inclusion, and invest in innovation for the future.
Slashing fixed costs and headcounts is not enough. Successful, forward-thinking companies are looking for new ways to grow revenue and embrace an inclusive mindset in all that they do for their customers and communities.
A critical place to begin is by making sure all voices are represented at the leadership table in corporate boardrooms. Here are some things to consider as you formulate your strategies:
- Is Your Board Up For The Challenge? As corporations adapt to changing consumer needs and expectations, a competitive advantage includes a board with digital marketing experts, financial acumen, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, sustainability, and global supply chain.
- Does it Mirror Your Customers? As businesses wrestle with an extended period of uncertainty, wavering consumer confidence, virtual operations, and social justice actions, having women on boards can provide insights on opportunities for innovation and more positive work environments.
- Do You Measure Up Well Compared to Other Businesses? In 2019, companies in the Russell 3000 Index exceeded 20 percent of female directors. Texas trailed at 17 percent. Where does your company stand?
- Are You Doing all you can to expand your board pool? Challenge yourself to expand your network. Reach out to CPA and law firms for recommendations of senior-level executives and retired women partners. Review boards of nonprofits and local business schools to identify additional C-suite women. Attend events (such as the Dallas 2020 Women on Boards Conversation on Board Diversity this November). Get involved with organizations that support women and minority board candidates. This is an opportune time to welcome highly qualified, experienced women and people of color to boards, leveraging their talents and experience to accelerate your competitive edge.
Tracey Doi is the CFO of Toyota Motor North America. She also serves as a national director of 2020 Women on Boards.