So, here are a couple of seemingly unrelated facts:
- In 83 years (until 2003) the number of minority head coaches in the NFL only went from one to seven. In the last 10 years, that number has more than doubled to 13.
- Research shows that the best way to get people and organizations to change is to give them one simple action to take.
Now I have you wondering what either of these things has to do with corporate governance. It's simple really - what I am talking about is boardroom diversity.
And, how taking one simple voluntary action, might help us prevent regulators from enacting the dreaded "pink quotas" (minimum requirements for the number of women or other diversity candidates on boards).
Perhaps we could, in a mere 10 years, move the snail-paced increases in board diversity into the realm of real significance.
The NFL did just that when it enacted the Rooney Rule in 2003 and expanded it in 2009. The rule (named after Dan Rooney, the Chair of the league's diversity committee) simply requires teams to interview at least one ethnic minority candidate for every senior football operations position in the NFL.
In the governance world we have a quickly closing window of opportunity to address diversity before the regulators address it for us.
Any board that wishes to do so can voluntarily adopt a Diversity One Policy - commit to taking one simple step, one new action - interview at least one diverse candidate for every available board seat.
It sounds easy. I think it is. Ask your board if they are willing to make the commitment and see what we can achieve in the next 10 years.
PS Whether you love this idea or hate it, please email me your feedback.