Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Motivational Board

Board must set a tone for digital leadership.

Board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising, monitoring, and setting key tones in corporate culture. Further, inspiring, motivating and developing c-suite leadership is a great strategy for creating value from the boardroom. Sadly, current norms of corporate governance sacrifice this strategy for the perceived benefits of monitoring that only protect value, and have been shown to de-motivate the c-suite sometimes. Shall motivating business leaders become one of the priorities and digital theme of the boardroom?

Good directorship is about creating the greatest value to motivate talent development: It is combining a range of value creating, motivating, value protecting and monitoring strategies rather than following best practice heuristics that by their nature of being most practiced provide no competitive advantage (something lost on today's governance practitioners). However, this may require a redesign of the boardroom that starts with the objective of creating value in and for the firm, thereby those with whom the firm deals, and creates a plan to achieve that objective.

A board that inspires, motivates and develops all their employees need not engage in micro-management or micro-leadership for that matter: The test point is about value, and any heuristics that the board operates with the senior executive team should not be followed if the greater value can be created by not following it. Unfortunately, we have followed these heuristics for so long that people have ceased to ask this basic question and failed to notice that it may be doing more harm than good. 

Board motivation and inspiration can come from any type of personal interaction: It's always good to make a board meeting a positive experience. How the c-suite feels before and after a board meeting - their energy levels, self-confidence, the frame of mind, and understanding the role, etc., these factors are crucial in organizational performance. It’s a great way to motivate and inspire if everyone is pushing and doing a good job. Also, it helps to maximize the corporate resources toward achieving its mission. What can be better than that? The beauty of describing the board's governing style is a perspective: C-level could read it and see it if they would be a good fit.

Too much emphasis on reporting and monitoring can create a dysfunctional relationship between the board and management: There is a tipping point where monitoring becomes counterproductive to value creation. It is not about arguing that the board should not monitor to protect value, but this must be balanced against other value-creating roles such as: 
- ensuring the board is not undermining the C-suite confidence; and 
- deliberately setting out to ensure that the c-suite frame of mind is aligned with the goals of the organization.

Boards must set a tone for digital leadership: Board must set an example of leadership which permeates through the entire organization. How they do it or rather how each member of the board does it, depends on only one thing- Individualism or Collectivism nature. The discussions that occur in the board meetings set a tone and give one a preview of the character of that particular person. How they influence the meetings, how they lead their own individual teams, whether they are completely in control of their thoughts and actions, whether they would like to someone to still manage them, etc. Laying out simple facts to dictating complex instructions through their setting the tone for the people on the board to exercise their leadership role depends totally on their nature. Once BoDs know that their nature affects their leadership role and how they can make a difference in their work and to their peers; only then can they truly begin to show their leadership potential. 

A motivational Board will take priority to inspire and motivate their leaders and managers, beyond practicing routine governance discipline, and set the right tone for building a healthy corporate culture and a strong business reputation. 

A Learning Board


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