Dr. Heidi K. Gardner explains how if certain people on a board are discounted, the board is not only losing out on their wisdom but may also undermine the set of people that board member speaks for.

Having women or other underrepresented groups on your board could be hurting your firm (yes, you read that correctly).

Why? Because if they are simply on the board, without being genuinely included in the board’s work, then they’re just figureheads, there to make leaders feel good about themselves or fulfil a quota. We call this the ‘illusion of inclusion’. And if leaders feel they’re doing the right thing (without actually doing it), they’ll check the diversity box and move onto the next issue – causing harm to the marginalised individuals and the firm as a whole.

Embracing inclusion is necessary for stellar collaboration and game-changing outcomes. It means considering the perspectives of people with different backgrounds and competencies to produce the best solutions for clients and the firm.