Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Harmonized Board

A board can be harmonized through leadership humility, insightful business understanding, trustful culture, and learning agility.

Corporate Board plays a significant role in business strategy oversight, practicing business governance, shaping effective culture, and perceiving talent trend. First of all, the board itself has to be harmonizing and highly-effective. Do you think that Directors are by nature pretty strong and candid people, or what are the biggest barriers to building a harmonized Board?

The big egos can play a role: Some directors get "comfortable" in their role on a board (complacent) and let stronger personalities take the lead. Human nature makes most people think twice about raising issues or responding to inquiries when the topic at hand is unfamiliar. Some will not respond in fear of embarrassment while others will take an analytical step and look for an analogous situation to draw upon. The old adage of "Check your ego at the door" doesn't always work. People serving on boards should be willing to work together towards reaching the goals or bottom line of the organizations.

The lack of trust: Trust in one another's character and trust in one another's competencies. That is critical for an environment that thrives on useful dialogue. Not all directors can be or need to be broad-based in skills and experience. Experts are needed and they tend to be more narrow. Usually, jealousy and ego are the largest issues affecting board harmony. It is difficult to deal with correcting these problems.

Unwilling to work towards a consensus: The desire to not understand much beyond your singular area of expertise can also cause problems beyond things like communication. Some directors are hesitant to speak out when they are ignorant about what another director is expert about for fear of appearing stupid. Is the following observation true, not just of boards, but of human nature? It often seems that outside of a person's area of specialized expertise and competence, all they usually want to hear from others is the "bottom line." An example of that is most nontechnical people just wanting to know that IT is working correctly. They have no interest in knowing how or why it works. The solid governance disciplines need to be practiced through continuous reviewing by questioning:
     -Is the strategy is incomplete and or flawed or both 
  -What is realizable revenue? 
            -Have we underestimated the competition?
       -Are meeting the needs of our customers that have been validated 
       -What is our innovation index

It's more about the boardroom culture engendered by board leaders. It’s all about leadership from the top which sets the tone and governs board room behavior.  A board can be harmonized through leadership humility, insightful business understanding, trustful culture, and learning agility.


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