I met a colleague yesterday over coffee who specializes in board governance. We shared our experiences working with boards of directors, and both of us (as Xers) agreed the board concept has little to no appeal to our generation and the generation that follows. Most – if not all – of our clients are experiencing great difficulty in recruiting and retaining young professionals to board roles. Which leads me to wonder: what will happen to boards of directors once the Baby Boomers retire?Throughout the nineteenth century and before, there are examples of corporations, non-profits, and associations utilizing boards of directors. Yet, despite the passage of time the concept of the board of directors hasn’t evolved one iota. The concept remains much the same as it did more than 100 years ago.Needless to say, Xers and Ys find a number of faults with the board concept and would rather pull their hair out than serve a single term on a board. As my colleague put it, the Xers that do get involved in the process are "there just long enough to realize they don’t need this in their lives and quickly leave".Here are two characteristics of boards that really turn Xers and Ys off:
What does all this mean for the future of corporations, non-profits, associations, and their boards of directors?I think it means change. Significant change in what a board does, how it operates, its purpose, and its outcomes.A lot has happened in the past 100 years. Most everything that was in existence during the last century either was improved or became antiquated.If nothing is done to improve our organizational leadership processes, then our boards of directors will also become antiquated and literally die out — because I assure you, the Xers and Ys certainly aren’t going to spend 11 years serving on a board or sitting through meetings that focus on menu options.
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