Friday, May 24, 2019

The Corporate Board’s Outside-in Views

Digital fit board directors bring the outliers’ fresh eyes, out-of-box thinking, and a tremendous set of skills and experience mix to create new value.

A digital paradigm is an emerging business ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set boundaries to frame the smooth business transformation with the focus. The board provides an “outside-in” view to the business management by overseeing the strategy and monitoring performance management. It should also offer guidance for creative problem-solving and steering the business in the right direction by practicing digital philosophy and principles.

Out-of-the-box thinking: Out-of-the-Box” thinking is about continuing to break down the outdated old box, expand the existing box, or shape the bigger and new box thinking, to discover alternatives and solve complex problems with creativity and collaboration. Out-of-the-Box thinking implies a certain level of creativity or unconventional problem-solving. Because in today’s competitive environment, what was outside of box yesterday may not be today. Our thinking has to continuously evolve, adapt, and prepare for changes. Further-looking board directors are both creative and critical thinkers who live out of the box, ask open questions to collect relevant information, and think alternative solutions to tough problems. Further, thinking outside of the box means you are in a continuous learning mode, do something outside of the confines of the construct. The “box” is also a set of “rules” that you are abiding by at any moment in time. By breaking down those old rules, your mind is set free to create the new ideas that arise from identifying and challenging assumptions and then generating more possibilities.

The outlier’s view: The most important function of any Board is the oversight of a holistic company strategy and execution through focused leadership. The board monitors strategy implementation and results, amend wherever necessary to match changing marketplace conditions, and by doing so to ensure the long-term prosperity of the business. The board also oversees the management of risks to the reputation, viability, and profitability of the enterprise. The outside-in lens enables BoDs to understand problems from an outlier’s perspective or read issues from different angles. Outlier digital leaders today are the one who can step out of a conventional thinking box or linear patterns, see things further or deeper, and be creatively disruptive. The digital era upon us is the age of innovation, and innovation is an important business capability to decide the business's long-term prosperity. The outlier’s view enables the board to scrutinize the innovation strategy of the company, as innovation is simply too important to delete to the management without the board’s oversight.

Insightful outlook: Over the last couple of decades, businesses have been faced with increasingly complex and pressing problem-situations, embedded in interconnected business ecosystems operating in dynamically changing environments. In addressing these problem situations and working with their relevant systems, business leaders and managers have learned to recognize the limitations of the perspectives, methods, and tools of the traditional reductionistic management methodology, which often puts too much focus on the mechanical side of the business, to assume the business is just the sum of its multiple functions. There is silo thinking spreading in the different layer of the organization; there are gaps existing across functional, industrial and geographical borders; there are overly rigid processes and organizational pyramid which cause bureaucratic management redundancy. Therefore, it is the time to provide an insightful outlook about what the future of the digital organization should be and what are existing problems and challenges. An insightful outlook helps to gain an in-depth understanding of cause and effect based on the identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario of digital transformation, with the goal to improve the corporate board decision effectiveness and leadership maturity.

Digital fit board directors bring the outliers’ fresh eyes, out-of-box thinking, and a tremendous set of skills and experience mix to create new value. Taking a hard look at the business from a different angle is critical to steer the organization in the right decision. An effective board enables and directs management towards good outcomes and ensures the business is on the right track to reach well-defined business goals.


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