The Difference that Difference Makes for Pools

András Tilcsik at the 2019 AGRiP Governance & Leadership Conference
András Tilcsik at the 2019 AGRiP Governance & Leadership Conference

The Difference that Difference Makes for Pools

by Stephanie Weiss, Director of Education & Events at AGRiP

Public entity pools can increase their resilience and decrease failure by building cognitive diversity on their governing bodies.

At the 2019 Governance & Leadership Conference, keynote presenter András Tilcsik spoke about The Difference that Difference Makes, based upon his research of 1,300 banking governing bodies.

Tilcsik shared insights into how cultivating multiple and varied viewpoints can lead to improved problem solving and overall results for governing bodies, serving as a useful “speed bump” by slowing down discussion.

Use cognitive diversity to build:

  • Flexibility
  • Skepticism
  • Productive Conflict

Build cognitive diversity by seeking pool board members who represent, among other things:

  • Urban/rural locations, or other geographic variation meaningful to your pool
  • Diversity in size of public entities represented
  • Differences in longevity in the public sector
  • Role diversity

A summary of key ideas from Tilcsik’s work is available on the conference app along with handouts and materials from all other conference sessions. For a more in-depth look at building a diversity of a governing body, look at conference resources from AGRiP 2019 Inclusion Resident Robin Stacia.

András Tilcsik holds the Canada Research Chair in Strategy, Organizations, and Society at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and the United Nations named his course on organizational failure as the best course on disaster risk management in a business school.He is co-author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It (March 2018), which provides clear insight for anyone seeking to grasp how systems are prone to failure, and how we can prevent collapses of all sizes before they occur.