Rob Campbell, Chair of SKYCITY Entertainment, Summerset Group Holdings limited (NZ), Tourism Holdings LTD and WEL Group/Ultrafast Fibre, and Director of Precinct Properties, presenting on how Chairs and Directors can grow diverse thinking on boards on 19 November 2018 at Spark City, Auckland
Business is about recognizing diverse interests and bringing them together in a way that creates value. Given that, it is really extraordinary that we have chosen so often to govern and manage our businesses by such a limited range of background, skill, culture and thought.
I think that in a past age owners of capital thought in terms of security and control and from that entrusted the business to people that looked and thought like them. In the industrial model of capitalism this made a degree of sense even though it limited vision and cramped opportunity. In the modern age the command and control model is collapsing.
What we are now doing is not discovering diversity but uncovering and valuing what was always there. Many in the established hierarchy would like to keep diversity hidden and unrecognised for obvious reasons. They will not succeed for two reasons. First, technology, education and social change are all lowering the cost of universal expression and participation. Second, and related, market forces are driving more effective expression of diversity on both the demand and the supply side.
Any business which tries to fight these forces is on what Talking Heads described as the “road to nowhere”. To my mind the business which succeeds will be that which is flexible, resilient and understands diversity and complexity.
You can bet that the traditional board and management representation will deliver that if you like. But I for one am betting heavily against