Good Governance: Make the most of new directors’ perspectives

New board members can lend their perspectives and expertise to pressing governance challenges.

As new credit union directors settle into their roles and responsibilities, they can offer valuable views on several persistent challenges facing many boards, which may be informed by their own experiences being recruited and trained for board service.

Stagnation and Demographic Homogeneity

Credit unions have more long-tenured board members than other business sectors, which increases the likelihood of a default toward the status quo, suggests Matt Fullbrook, manager of the David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Fullbrook is also and faculty at CUES Governance Leadership Institute™ at Rotman. And especially for historically SEG-based credit unions, board membership may skew toward people from the same or similar professions.

“People who are familiar with each other and used to interacting tend to be much less likely to challenge each other and to step outside what they’re used to in recruiting new directors,” he says. “There’s a huge amount of both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggesting that diverse perspectives dramatically enhance the ability of groups to make good decisions. They’re more willing to challenge each other. They bring diverse perspectives to what might seem like a mundane question or decision, which may raise new opportunities.”

 

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