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Why is inclusion and diversity so important?

Research* shows that companies with greater diversity in gender, culture, sexual orientation and ethnicity are more likely to see above-average profits and be more successful. Diverse teams better represent the spectrum of different views and benefit from a broader range of perspectives and skills. Diversity feeds an environment in which creative problem solving, emotional intelligence and overall performance thrive. It also enables a different approach to risk-taking.

In the pursuit of different views, boards should seek to achieve diversity in the widest sense. Beyond gender and racial diversity, diversity in skills, thinking, experience, and background is critical. Generational perspectives and ethnic diversity enrich the corporate dialogue, especially at global companies. But this is only true if the corporate culture supports honest, open communication and embraces different points of view. Without these enablers, decisions will not fully benefit from diversity of thought.

Diversity is a mindset, not a one-off task. Board composition should evolve to reflect the changing business and societal environment and enable the board in its tasks and duties.

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*Advance & HSG Gender Intelligence Report 2020, McKinsey Why Women Matter 2019, Catalyst research 2020