Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The BoDs’ Digital Profiles

The BoDs need to have the complementary thinking styles, cognitive understanding, capabilities, skills, and experience to lead seamlessly.

Due to the “VUCA” digital normality, organizations today have to live up with the business dynamic which is uncertain, ambiguous, complex and flux. Board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. Hence, today's BoDs need to be insightful, influential, strategic, and highly effective. The best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup and culture and which "gap" needs to be filled. Here is a set of digital BoDs profiles.


Visionary BoDs: BoDs and C-level roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise. Thus, BoDs as top leadership roles need to envision and lead the organization towards its future. BoD leadership needs to be future oriented. A visionary changes the course of business by seeing beyond what all others could see or by charting new revenue or growth through the creation of a new product or market. Vision should have a direction which sets in clarity. BoDs with the visionary mind have the ability to think the past, perceive what is now and foresee the future. The most important thing is that you believe in your vision and many follow your vision. Setting a vision that isn't high enough doesn't challenge the organization to excel. But establishing a vision that is based on unrealistic expectations will either discount the value of even creating the vision or disenfranchise stakeholders.


Skeptical BoDs: Digital BoDs with the right dose of “doubt” are real critical thinkers who can ask deep questions. The constructive skepticism leads to creative problems-solving and innovative solutions. Knowledge is important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the context, be skeptical of conventional wisdom. Once you do that, you use your ability to classify the elements and know their linkage and capture the insight to understand things thoroughly. The BoDs as the business critic can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management accurate information to improve; great questions to self-aware; and keen insight to gain the in-depth understanding of the digital ecosystem. They challenge conventional thinking as a sole path; add the new perspective via intuition; removes reactive thinking and negative self-talk, and add proactive interactions no matter what is the situation; eliminate stereotypical thinking and leverages intuitive listening to capture the important information for decision-making.


Strategic BoDs: The corporate boards play the critical role in overseeing strategy and setting tones for digital transformation. Thus, the BoDs need to gain deeply understanding about the enterprise in order to be a credible actor in the strategy dialogue. The Board members must be competent with unique insight with the right knowledge/ experience. The board represents the ownership and they really cannot do a good job if they don't have the knowledge to challenge and set the broad strategic goals. This requires a major time commitment. As a good strategy has always to diagnose the key business problems/issues, set the guidelines, make a set of choices, and include a series of actions. Boards need to spend their efforts on developing and understanding strategy so they can set the vision and broad goals clearly. They need to educate themselves by hearing different views about the organization, its environment, and strategic alternatives, so they can provide valuable input and oversee strategy effectively.


IT Savvy BoDs: IT savvy BoDs are in demand because IT is a key enabler of future capability and a critical aspect of continuing business activities in organizations. The foremost thing for BoD is to realize that IT is strategic; and as such, it should be a distinct part of the business strategy telling how to maintain compliant and secure and how to enable business growth. While directors bring many competencies to the table, most do not have access to information about innovation and its potential related to the businesses. Companies should establish on-going avenues to information which will regularly feed BoDs understanding about trends and potential innovation for their businesses. A tech-savvy board with IT savvy BoDs will have the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, innovation and ensure what happens next.


Outlier BoDs: The outlier BoDs are “out of the box” thinkers who can bring the fresh viewpoint and connect the unusual dots for stimulating innovation across the industrial or territorial boundaries. Digital is the age of innovation, innovation is one of the keys to the success of an organization. Smart companies are reaching beyond the borders of their organizations to explore innovation. The corporate board should play a significant role in both innovation management and management innovation. Innovation is too important to leave solely in the hands of the management team without any oversight or guidance. BoDs should participate, or even lead in the area of innovation from outliers’ viewpoint. BoDs are, in fact, they are in the unique position to practice out-of-thinking and bring the broader perspective to complement the management’s possible “tunnel vision.” The effective board brings together such a tremendous skills and experience mix that there are bound to be board members whose ideas could feed into new business innovation.


The digital BoDs’ profiles are varying. The BoDs need to have the complementary cognitive understanding, thinking styles, capabilities, skills, and experience to lead seamlessly. A digital-savvy board has the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, changeability, innovation and mastering digital fluency to make profound leadership influence.

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