Business always seems to be that wee bit ahead of politics. Writing in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, Fergal Quinn quotes Christine Lagard’s claim that if you add one woman to a board (whilst keeping the overall number unchanged) the base value of the company is likely to increase by between 8-15 points.
Why? Diversity is a number one ingredient in battling any business’s worst enemy when it comes to performance: ie, groupthink. More enlightened businesses go further than the gender balance test, and use behaviour/personality based tests to find team players who not only complement each other, but cover each other’s weaknesses.
Quinn makes a wider point about severe risk limitation measures enforced by the Central Bank. He argues that if you keep raising the bar in terms of the risks undertaken by independent directors, women (and by extension other groups which find themselves poorly represented) will be scared off. In fact widening the pool of talent available is more likely to create less crusty, less prone to failure.
There’s much politics can learn from business, not least in Northern Ireland where going into politics is so risky it attrracts a very limited set of personality types which in turn imposes limitations of what those political parties can do.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty