• Victoria Carter is a professional company director and the first woman president of the Northern Club.
"If you can't see it how can you be it, or believe it is possible."
Another point of view is what most corporate boards need. That is the reason they need more women on boards. If everyone looks the same they generally think the same and that's been identified as the problem with the mostly white, male, older faces around board tables.
If you sit at a table with mostly the same kind of people it means you will probably all be thinking the same and that won't help any industry move forward. Neither is it representative of our community or the world we live in, or our customers.
In May I spoke at the Asian Racing conference in Seoul about the need for diversity. The themes, however, are relevant to any industry. If you need innovation the fastest and easiest way to get it is by adding more women to your teams. And both McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group have produced research affirming why it's vital.*
There is plenty of evidence today that if young women can see older women in roles, then they believe it's possible for them too. That's why we need more of us in these roles. There are still far too few on boards and in management teams and there is plenty of talent.
Having more women (not just one) in senior roles, in management teams, on boards and in government is so important because it shows all women that it is possible, you don't have to be unique, exceptional or chosen, and it becomes more of the norm.
If we want good decisions, good strategies, great outcomes, then we need good discussion and that usually comes from having people around a table who don't all look like us.
The more differing views discussed, whether it's around a board table or a leadership team, the more open to possibilities, open to change and aware of the future we are.
A diverse board or management team offers insights, perspective and experiences to a CEO from these differing views that a non-diverse board can't. On a non-diverse board everyone shares similar views and has had a similar experience and things move more slowly.
If you need any more encouragement to add women, Boston Consulting Group's and McKinsey's reports in the past 12 months can explain how increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.
In both developing and developed economies, companies with above-average diversity on their leadership teams report a greater payoff from innovation and higher ebit margins.
Even more persuasive, you get these gains with relatively small changes in the makeup of senior teams.
People with different backgrounds and experiences often see the same problem in different ways and come up with different solutions, increasing the odds that one of those solutions will be a hit.
In a fast-changing business environment, such responsiveness leaves companies better positioned to adapt.
But if you want that innovation, it's only when women occupy a significant share of management positions that the innovation premium becomes evident: innovation revenues start to kick in when more than 20 per cent of managers in a business are female.
The biggest lesson from the studies is that a strong and statistically significant correlation exists between the diversity and overall innovation. When we value the differences we all bring to the table by collaborating, innovation will follow.
• McKinsey and Company, "Diversity Matters", 2015. BCG-Technical University of Munich survey of German, Swiss and Austrian companies, 2016. BCG diversity and innovation survey, 2017.