Getting away from it all
I'm just back from an annual trip to Loch Lomond. It must be one of the world's best golfing experiences... Fantastic scenery, great course, beautiful clubhouse and unbelievable levels of service. In fact, the only thing missing is some decent golf, but that's really my fault.
It's also an incredibly male experience. Loch Lomond isn't set up as a male only preserve; there's a female changing room, female tee boxes and, if you look hard enough, even a few female members.
So how did it end up like that? Well, it just did. Like pretty much the rest of the corporate world, it just kind of happened. And now it's like that, well, it'll be pretty difficult to change.
Where are the women?
In between smashing various balls out of bounds, I started thinking, what would it take to get more women involved? It's the same challenge Helena Morrissey and her army of female talent zealots are faced with. There's no easy answer.
I mean, the powers that be at Loch Lomond could try a few different initiatives - they could start talking about it as an issue, they could reduce membership rates for women, introduce a special mentoring scheme for potential members, throw in some childcare help to allow women more time on the course, or even appoint a head of diversity!
Hmmm. You see the problem. There's actually only one sure fire way to fix the issue, and yep - it's quotas, I'm afraid.
Sit up and take notice
I might not win many friends, but I think quotas are the only way to go. Here's the thing: we'll only get more talented women up and through our best companies if there is a clear business case for doing so. And the only way to make the business case is quotas.
A big penalty if you don't have enough women will make every CEO and Financial Director sit up and take notice. And what should quotas look like? Well, here I'm a bit more sensible.
The target date must be a long way out - 2020 would do. The quotas must be about executive boards and not count non-execs, and they need to apply to all large(ish) employers - no point picking on the FTSE gang only.
And now to make sure next year's invite to Loch Lomond hasn't been rescinded...