Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Five Senses of Digital Board

The board's ‘deep common sense” leads toward ”Effective Judgment," which has been defined as leveraged sense and sensitivity to make sound decisions. 

The corporate board oversees strategy, monitors performance, sets policies, advises management and plays an instrumental role in leading business transformation seamlessly. The digital-savvy board has to gain digital awareness, shape digital mindset, leverage five senses, and exercise creativity muscles in order to improve digital fluency and leadership effectiveness.

LISTENING:  Listening & debating become the new normal in the digital board. Traditional boards discuss various topics and practice compliance-driven governance discipline, but digital boards listen empathetically and encourage debates to stimulate creativity. The debate is a discussion involving opposing viewpoints; deliberation; consideration – or to dispute or disagree about. The digital BoDs are good listeners, they act like a sponge and absorb information, ask lots of questions. In practice, the high performing digital board shows the ability and openness to "question itself and its decisions/ discussions." When the board builds the listening and learning culture, it could be also on the right track to build a listening and telling organization.

SMELLING: The rate of change has accelerated, indicating that foresightful business leaders such as board directors should be able to “smell” the business opportunities and learn how to strike a balance between managing complex issues today and predicting the uncertain issues of tomorrow. With strong digital acumen, BoDs can sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, and also encourage those they guide to seek ongoing experience and knowledge. For leading effectively, the board needs to be engaged at the most senior levels to help influence positive changes, have a sense of the business direction, and shape the business of the future. It's critical to find the time and a viable board process for discussing long-term strategy and profitably growing the company.

FEELING: Emotions such as feeling is in some form morally acceptable in the boardroom, although most of the times, dispassionate analysis is the foundation for effective governance. Some good leaders are the ones that have a broad instinct to business and that act emotionally. But concern arises where emotional decisions are allowed to override other more appropriate considerations which are supported by hard facts and updated information. Emotion shouldn’t put the business at too high risk. Emotions shouldn’t pop up ego or drive the autocratic style to diminish leadership effectiveness and take the organization in the wrong direction with potential serious consequence. Imagine how the companies could change if each Board Director felt his/her mission is to expand the value to the existing or new customers, with new ideas, new products/services; or the new structures.

Tasting: The high taste of digital means openness, responsiveness, innovativeness, and fluidity. Homogeneity, primitiveness, and stagnation are tedious and tasteless. Building a high-taste digital board needs to identify and mind the multitude of leadership gaps, continue to add the new blood for enforcing IT savvy and digital acumen in the boardroom, fill cognitive gaps in decision-making, become performance driven, embrace changes, and make the significant influence on change and innovation.


Touching: The human touch will become more central to build competitive advantages. An enterprise has to be linked to the many and varying touch points between itself and its marketplace environment. Prepare, listen, question, and participate at the board level is imperative to unfold the digital paradigm shift. It is so important in developing an atmosphere with effective and candid communication. From the boardroom to the contact center, the touchy-feely conversations need to truly connect the minds and untie the knots in people’s hearts. It is also important to foster an environment where feedback and communication are based on reality and not simply what BoDs or senior management wants to hear. Digital is the age of people. People-centricity is the hot topic and evident reinforcement of building a high-touching digital board.

The board's ‘deep common sense” leads toward ”Effective Judgment," which has been defined as leveraged sense and sensitivity to make sound decisions by listening, feeling, smelling, tasting, touching, and lead the organization in the right direction.

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