Missing link – Inducting new professionals on Indian Boards

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the need for competent and diverse leadership on corporate Indian boards has never been more critical.

While India boasts a pool of talented professionals capable of contributing effectively to boardroom discussions, the prevailing bias towards renowned directors and selection bias often hinder their entry and impede the sharing of best practices.

Furthermore, the role of an independent director extends beyond regulatory compliance; it demands active participation in stakeholder governance. To fully leverage the potential of these professionals and promote effective boardroom dynamics, it is essential to address these challenges through coaching, mentoring, and a more inclusive approach to board appointments.

The prevailing bias towards experienced and sitting independent directors creates a barrier for talented & younger professionals seeking board positions. While experience and industry reputation are important, solely relying on them can limit the diversity of perspectives and hinder innovation. Board appointments should be based on a balanced consideration of qualifications, expertise, and potential contributions.

It is also a pitiable commentary about the Indian market reality – that many talented professionals face challenges in making themselves visible to board nomination committees or executive search firms. Without proper awareness or exposure to board opportunities, these individuals find it difficult to showcase their qualifications and potential contributions. Broadening the Board selection criteria to encompass a wider range of talents and perspectives will foster a more inclusive and dynamic board environment.

Being a director requires more than just regulatory understanding; it necessitates the ability to actively engage in stakeholder governance and strategic decision-making. Talented professionals aspiring to join boards should be provided with coaching and mentoring opportunities that equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge. Programs focused on boardroom dynamics, governance practices, strategic thinking, and ethical leadership can empower these professionals to make meaningful contributions and navigate the complex challenges of boardroom responsibilities.

Coaching plays a pivotal role in empowering talented professionals seeking board positions by providing them with the necessary guidance and support to excel in their roles as directors. Through coaching, individuals can develop a deep understanding of boardroom dynamics, governance principles, and strategic thinking. They gain valuable insights into effective stakeholder engagement, ethical decision-making, and the art of fostering collaboration within the board. Coaching also helps professionals enhance their leadership skills, enabling them to navigate complex challenges, contribute meaningfully to discussions, and make informed decisions that align with the organisation’s long-term objectives. It also helps them handle crisis management situations.

An inclusive and diverse boardroom benefits from the sharing of best practices and the exchange of ideas. Encouraging collaboration among board members, including established directors and emerging professionals, can lead to enhanced decision-making and improved corporate governance. Establishing platforms, such as networking events, industry conferences, and mentorship programs, can foster an environment conducive to knowledge exchange, facilitating the flow of expertise and experiences between seasoned directors and aspiring professionals.

Diverse perspectives ensure a more comprehensive analysis of risks, opportunities, and stakeholder concerns. By incorporating professionals from varied backgrounds and industries, boards can foster innovation, adapt to changing market dynamics, and make well-informed decisions that drive sustainable growth. Can India Inc. move from selection bias and nepotism to foster professionals participating in its Boards?


Author :

Dr. Srinath Sridharan – Author, Policy Researcher & Corporate advisor

Twitter: @ssmumbai


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