Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Visionary Board

The future is already here, but it is unevenly distributed.

The corporate board plays a significant leadership role in modern businesses, with multidimensional responsibilities, such as strategy oversight, policy setting, corporate governance and monitoring - accountability of the environment - regulatory, shareholder, etc. Not only do today’s BoDs need to have sufficient knowledge to understand the business ecosystem, but also they should have the business vision to predict the emergent trend of business, technology or industry, so they can guide the executive team toward the right direction and play the management advising role effortlessly.

Vision is an integral part of the directorial role: It doesn't have to be exclusive or externally focused. In most cases, it must be a shared, collaborative vision, because the board of directors which is responsible for setting the vision for the enterprise is a plurality, not an individual. Every C-level leader must participate in creating and shaping a company's vision. 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. Though the BoD may not be responsible for developing business strategy, it is responsible for authorizing and monitoring business strategy, develop business policies offering further constraint/guidance to implementation of the strategy, monitor performance and implementation of the strategy, manage risks across all domains of interest. A visionary board can navigate to the deep digital reality and lead more effectively.

BoDs and C-level roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise: BoDs as top leadership roles need to envision and lead the organization towards its future. If they're not doing that or not allowed to do that, then they aren't C-level, they aren't the Chiefs, they are implementing the visions of other people. Vision should have a direction which sets in clarity. 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. The vision should be attainable; however, the vision shouldn't be a fixed target. It should be stable enough to make it worthwhile to make a concerted effort to attain it and dynamic enough to be able to react to any change in business direction or context. A vision should be attainable subject to current times and its ability to adapt to changing times.

BoD leadership vision is to serve as a “future shaper” and a strategy enabler: Vision is about shaping an idea that comes with a commitment to push it through. The vision if understood in this perspective becomes a reality achievable and a comprehensible dream beyond words. To clear the path, whether that be the elimination of obstacles or to provide coaching and guidance, BoD leadership needs to be future oriented. Leaders 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. A vision re-conceptualizes the future, connects the previously unconnected dream. Visionary could also mean the ability to think outside the box, to think creatively, to be innovative both inside and outside the organization. A visionary board has the collective and broad range of business perspectives, they can explore the vision and fresh ideas in a spirit of open-mindedness, learning, and respect; Visionary is the one who can envision the future but not necessarily have plans and actions to get it. Therefore, 'future orientation' feels more like a 'leaning towards the future' where being visionary is 'making the future.' So a visionary board includes those who have influence as they possess the means to shape the future through their actions.

Corporate BoD is the top leadership role. Leadership vision is to be the guiding light. Being a leader means giving people confidence on where to go and how to get there, coaching them and also stretching them to live to their full potential, both individually and as members of a high performing team. To support effectiveness and achievement of final results, to set the tone for building the positive and inspiring working culture, to motivate, to be confident and trustworthy working with the people, communication with stakeholders, and transform vision into the reality.


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