These days, there is a lot of discussion happening, in Silicon Valley and in other business environments, about building diverse boards. Yet far too often, if companies consider this issue at all, it is by “checking the box” after including one independent director or one woman on the board. What CEOs and boards instead should be asking themselves is, how diverse and independent does our board need to be in order to be its most effective?
Yet at a moment when we are talking about harnessing all the talent opportunity in the tech industry, nearly one-half of the boardroom of tech’s top unicorns are still stuck at the starting blocks, an analysis by The Information shows. Among the top 30 private, venture-backed tech companies, 50% still lack gender diversity, and 47% lack independent directors at all, according to the analysis. (See related article.) Interestingly, board size isn’t a big factor in diversity or independence, as the most diverse board in the analysis—Dropbox—has multiple independents and multiple women on its seven-member board, even though the board itself is of only average size.