Boards · Equity · Leadership · People

Episode 43: Refreshing the board matrix to build a diverse board

The board matrix is a tool that many boards use to be intentional about the diversity of members needed to best achieve their mission. In this episode, Nancy and Sarah reflect on the purpose of a board matrix and how we can update this tool to better capture a fuller diversity of the humans tasked with moving forward our mission and movement. The complex topics in front of us require a range of perspectives, experiences, knowledges, and approaches. And the work doesn’t stop at recruitment. We can use the board matrix to plan the kind of support each board member will need to contribute more fully to the collective work of the board as a whole. 

Question to reflect on before you listen:
What is your process now to make sure you are recruiting a diverse pool of board members? 

Discussion questions:

  1. What resonated with you about this conversation? What would you like to take back to your organization?
  2. We discussed a few categories that you might consider beyond race/ethnicity, age, and gender. Specifically, we named approach to the work, introversion vs extroversion, and types of knowledge someone might bring to the board. Which of these would be interesting for your board to spend more time with? Why? Name a next step to move that forward. 
  3. Sarah pointed out how important it is to SUPPORT board members after you recruit them. It is not enough to recruit a diverse perspective or approach to the work. You need to put a plan in place to fill in any gaps that may exist, address any cultural issues that may be a barrier to full engagement, and provide on-going support. What do you think about this idea? 

Board matrix template mentioned in this episode — Remember that this is a starting point. Customize it for your organization. 

Word of the week: Multi-dimensional
What does “multi-dimensional” mean to you when it comes to your board members? How can this word help you to expand your thinking about board diversity? 

What do you think?