NACD and Deloitte Release New Playbook to Drive Inclusion in Boardrooms across America, Turning the Lens Inward and Focusing on Culture of Inclusione Now
WASHINGTON, DC (June 2, 2023) – The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 23,000 directors, today published The Inclusion-Driven Boardroom: Incorporating Inclusion to Help Realize the Benefits of Diversity, a collaboration between the Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness and the Center for Inclusive Governance® (CFIG).
The practical playbook includes points of reflection and tactical ways for directors to drive inclusion in the boardroom. It builds on the Board Inclusion Framework issued by Deloitte and NACD in 2020. Notably, this new guide provides a how-to for boards to turn the lens inward and effectively examine their inclusion culture—which intrinsically influences the organizations they oversee.
"This publication is a testament to the Center for Inclusive Governance's ongoing journey toward creating an inclusive culture where every director feels valued, respected, and empowered to bring their authentic selves to the boardroom," said Tracy Gee, chief people officer, NACD. "It is an opportunity to promote dialogue, understanding, and empathy—and to foster an environment where everyone can contribute their unique perspectives and thrive."
The new publication is built on the principle that boards must look internally and evaluate their own diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) practices if they are to succeed in overseeing their organization's inclusion strategies effectively. Moreover, it reflects NACD's long-term commitment to DE&I, benchmarked by the association's trailblazing 2012 Report of the NACD Blue Ribbon Commission—The Diverse Board: Moving From Interest to Action and its 2020 update. Additionally, in September, NACD will release the 2023 Blue Ribbon Commission report, which will issue guidance on dynamics and culture within the boardroom.
Carey Oven, national managing partner, Center for Board Effectiveness, Deloitte & Touche LLP, pointed out that the diversity and inclusivity parts of DE&I are sometimes considered interchangeably—but, in fact, they are not the same thing: "It is not enough to simply bring an array of lived experiences to the table. There also must be inclusive practices to help draw out the full benefits of diversity and to help yield a sense of belonging. Driving effective diversity and inclusion requires different—albeit complementary—approaches and actions."
The playbook offers insight on attributes possessed by inclusive directors. And it stresses the importance of self-awareness in modeling six tangible traits reflective of an inclusive leader: commitment to inclusion; courage to talk about imperfections; cognizance of bias so change can take place; curiosity that embraces different ideas and experiences; cultural intelligence, appreciating that not everyone sees the world through the same cultural frame; and collaboration—the mindset that all board members should have a voice and feel willing to share their perspectives.
"As with all aspects of DE&I, the road to effective inclusion practices is not finite," Gee added. "Rather, it is an ongoing, dynamic journey that gives us the chance to fully harness the wisdom of every individual—and the value that diversity in the boardroom brings."
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About the Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness
Deloitte's Center for Board Effectiveness helps directors deliver value to the organizations they serve through a portfolio of high-quality, innovative experiences throughout their tenure as board members. Whether an individual is aspiring to board participation or has extensive board experience, the Center's programs enable them to contribute effectively and provide focus in the areas of governance and audit, strategy, risk, innovation, compensation, and succession.