Sunday, December 11, 2016

The "Digitizing Boardroom" Book Tuning: BoDs with Digital Acumen

Digital Acumen = Business Acumen + Digital IQ.

As a Board of Directors is responsible for having the oversight and direction of a business, a Board in a high-level leadership position should be managing for the long term and play a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key digital tones in driving changes. From the leadership perspective, besides years of experience and vertical expertise, BoDs also need to have digital acumen in order to lead digital transformation effectively.

Digital Acumen = Business Acumen + Digital IQ: With strong digital acumen, BoDs can sense emergent opportunities, and predict potential risks, exemplify learning agility, and also encourage those they guide to seek ongoing experience and knowledge. A Board should be managing for the long term. It's critical to find the time and a viable board process for discussing long-term strategy and profitably growing the company. Digital acumen does not mean you only master at either business knowledge or expertise, but both and even multiple domains; not just see things from a single dimension but from different angles. From concerns about risk management to the use of emerging technologies to leapfrog competitors, the digital BoDs’ challenge is how you move the ‘needle’ forward, and really mind the digital gap to accelerate your organization’s digital transformation.

Digital mindsets: Digital acumen starts with building the digital mindset and improving digital IQ. With the increasing speed of changes, it is in the BoD’s mindset to either adapt or embrace the changes and lead the digital transformation. Transformation often evolves with radical changes from the collective mindset to underlying functions. It has been said that to embrace change requires a change of mindset at every level and an understanding that things cannot stay the same. BoDs and top leadership teams make a significant influence on shaping the digital mindset of the organization, so they must set the principles, guideline, and rules to advise and lead. The best fit digital board depends on the Board’s current makeup, culture, and which “gap” needs to be filled. The Board is responsible for ensuring an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge, and experience are present or available for it to fulfill its function.

Being innovative is the state of mind needed from the boardroom to the front desk: Organizations today don't have a choice on innovation because this is the only way to keep them stay longer in the business game. They should choose to direct it rather than just let it happen. And it can happen in so many ways that you can hardly miss. Does Board overall spend enough time on planning for the future -that means dealing with innovation choices? BoDs should play a crucial role in both management innovation and innovation management and set the tone to build a culture of innovation. Innovation as the creation and development of new ideas causes meaningful change for customers and the company. This isn't always a new product or service but can also be an improvement in processes, employee satisfaction or the environmental impact. It's critical to find the time and a viable board process for discussing innovation and profitably growing the company.

With rapid changes and the exponential growth of information, Modern BoDs today need to present high digital acumen and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. So they can advise insightfully and lead confidently.


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