Creating A Shadow Board To Bridge Generational Gap

Shadow boards are an excellent strategy for business concerns looking for continuity and constant innovation in their performance. Every organization is created with the long-term aim of being a successful “going concern”. To fulfill its potential and continue through the hiccups thrown up by the business cycles and market forces, out-of-the-box thinking is crucial. This is exactly what the shadow board brings in.

The concept of picking and nurturing a shadow board may feel revolutionary, particularly in Asian countries where respect for experience and conventional wisdom tends to be high. Contrary to this established belief, some stalwart Indian companies are breaking away from the mold to try shadow boards to bring in novelty and nuanced approaches to doing business. Following the success of some global business houses like Gucci, AccorHotels, and Stora, Indian counterparts like Mahindra AFS were able to leverage success by channeling the fiery young mindset.

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What is a shadow board?

It is a gathering of the youngest high-performing executives in the company who band together to evaluate the course taken by the organization to achieve its goals. In addition to being a breath of fresh air with regard to policies and gumption for achieving business ends, the shadow board is less reticent about swapping out ineffective practices and ringing in path-breaking ones.

Patronage for a shadow board should cascade down from the senior management. A shadow board program has to be proposed and formed with operational tenets and a purpose-led, mapped-out agenda so that the end goals of the organization are not eclipsed.

The suggestions from the shadow board are put to their best use when top executives and senior management take them under advisement. They should be tempered by cautious evaluation and staggered execution so that the policies of the company are not diluted entirely.

Human resource take on shadow boards

Human resource personnel are always looking to leverage the engagement of their workforce to bring the best ideas and energies to the fore. As a tool to pique the interests of disengaged younger workers, this is an intriguing one which offers plenty of traction for the long-term future of the employee at the company.

Any leadership development program would benefit from the insights and performance of the shadow board. At a glimpse, it would be able to observe which executives have trailblazing prowess and harness this energy to bring out policies and pursuits that are both engaging in the present and promising for the future of the company.

Since youthful executives from their early twenties to late thirties get an opportunity to make their presence felt in the shadow board, they can be groomed for a succession plan for the topmost executive positions in the company. A shadow board program gives the directors and the C-suite plenty of time to evaluate ideology and approach while also observing the success of their proposals in real time.

In addition to the benefits of engagement and diversity of thought harnessed by forming a shadow board, it also is a launchpad for aspiring young workers. Young people who are motivated by recognition and the power to lead change would enjoy the challenge and rewards that are inherent to this crème de la crème gathering.

Since a considerable diversity of thought comes up during the brainstorming of shadow board members, crucial decisions, and sometimes, the entire fortunes of a company can turn around thanks to these offbeat thinkers.


  • Shadow Boards – A Fresh Perspective | ASE Online | Heather Nezich | Feb 2020
  • Why You Should Create a “Shadow Board” of Younger Employees | Harvard Business Review | Jennifer Jordan and Michael Sorell | June 2019
  • Assemble A Shadow Board To Integrate Gen Z And Stay Ahead Of Disruption | Forbes | Marilyn Tyfting | Oct 2019
  • A Platform For New Ideas – Shadow Board | Experience Mahindra |  Soumitra Acharya | March 2017
  • Shadow boards: how young executives are running corporates | Evening Standard | Lucy Tobin | Dec 2019

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