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The complexities and challenges that organizations and businesses face require boards to possess an array of skills as their main resource. A diverse board of directors provides the depth of perspective and perspectives from multiple perspectives as well as a an abundance of experience needed for productive discussions which lead to well-rounded decision making.

Many boards struggle to make the leap from “nice-to-have” to a requirement. The discussion about diversity in boardrooms centers on ethnic and social background as well as gender but the discussion has to expand beyond these categories to include diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences.

A diverse board requires commitment and a shift in thought. Certain trustees do not want to rethink their legacy processes. For example the tendency of the board nominating panels to search for new members in the same areas. Boards can boost the diversity of their search by expanding their boundaries to include diverse communities, and sourcing candidates with specific expertise in areas of the company’s greatest need (for instance an organization that is a consumer might require a marketing expert or an international company may want directors skilled in geopolitics) and establishing relationships with historically underrepresented candidates prior to the need for it.

The trustees who report having an inclusive board culture state that having the proper mix of social and professional diversity can create an environment on the board where everyone’s ideas are valued. They state that a diverse board is better equipped to comprehend the complex issues that confront their organization, as well as the challenges facing its customers and stakeholders.