Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Three Aspects in Digitizing the Boardroom

Digitizing boardroom is not an overnight sensation, but a well-planning journey.

Due to the increasing velocity and variety of changes in the digital era, corporate board, as one of the most significant governance bodies, also faces the unprecedented changes, including new perspectives of boardroom composition, unprecedented board dynamics, and emergent best or next digital practices. In short, digitizing the boardroom is inevitable, because as the top leadership team, the board just has to step into the digital vision, exemplify digital leadership effectiveness, and walk the talk in driving the business transformation.

The digital board composition: The board provides an “outside-in” view of the business and multi-dimensional lenses to oversee and advise business strategy and execution, and steer business toward the right direction. he best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup, culture and which "gap" needs to be filled. Business management and governance are interdependent disciplines to keep businesses move towards the right direction with the proper speed. A “digital fit” board with fresh eyes is anyone willing to challenge the current level of 'group' think. The Board is responsible for ensuring an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge and experience are present or available for it to fulfill its function. So the board composition needs to focus on cognitive difference, functional difference, and other skill/capability difference, not just the conventional understanding about the diversity which focuses on genders and races. Whereas what interested in BoD is mindfulness. Appreciates that the value of alternative perspectives and insights which say nothing of not trusting - simply looking from a different stance, and asking different questions. The important issue is how the board accommodates diverse opinions and how they assess them and converge the diverse thought into wise decisions all BoDs' support.

The Board dynamic: It means keeping the organization intact by ensuring sustainability. Every board decision is particular to the objectives, circumstances and board dynamics. The high-effective board can make effective decisions in deliberation, moving the enterprise forward, ensuring the organization makes sense, etc. These are strategies associated with the execution of the governance. There is good and bad judgment. It is to define the best possible working equilibrium between the often conflicting forces and drivers, both external and internal, whether imposed or adopted, acting on the organization’s vision and strategy. Maintaining the great board dynamic can help transform the emotional board to an effective board via self-check: Does it make sense? Can the person identify if there are insufficient "facts" to allow a conclusion to be formed? Are BoDs willing to change their mind when faced with new and relevant facts? Does the BoD have a track record of getting it right most of the time? If the company's mission, stakeholders, and strategy have been clearly established - then this emotional appeal can be tested against those and the stated values of the organization.

The Board Digital/Global Practices: The digital board has global touch and in-depth understanding about the digital dynamic and develop a set of best and next practice to improve its effectiveness. Global boards will, for the most part, go through a learning process, relationship building and understanding of what it takes to get cross-cultural agreements. Accountability should be a common thread throughout all global boards, regardless of nation diversity. Making a set of common principles to communicate and collaborate across geographical borders, industrial borders, and functional borders. It starts with agenda agreements before moving forward but takes patience and understanding of potential obstacles, differences, and language that translates common meaning.

Digitizing boardroom is not an overnight sensation, but a well-planning journey. A wise and effective Board exhibits a creative tension, that hard to define, but you know it when you see it. There is still a long way to achieving corporate governance maturity. But it’s worth the effort, and indeed, it’s one of the most crucial steps in the radical digital transformation of businesses, industries, and the society.


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