Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Digital Board’s Dots Connection

Building a high-effective digital board requires thinking, dots connection, asking questions, to complement each other’s strength and balance of multiple perceptions, to avoid group thinking or extreme thinking.

The contemporary BoDs as the top directorial role oversee business strategies, practice governance discipline, help senior leaders identify blind spots via the “outliers” views and provide invaluable advice via connecting the wider dots. Connecting the right dots is important for both triggering creativity and improving organizational responsiveness and strategic flexibility from the boardroom to the shop floor. Here is a set of digital dots digital boards should connect fluently.

Digital awareness dots: Digital ecosystem is living, dynamic, hyperconnected, and interdependent. Companies operate within ecosystems to deliver value to their customers, however, for many organizations, the ecosystems have evolved without much attention or planning. Hence, the corporate board needs to expand its vision to connect the digital awareness dots within the digital ecosystem, for improving governance maturity. To effectively respond to these new digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive. Companies need to understand the competitive landscape, find business partners that can help the business succeed, build a new ecosystem partnership to pursue mutual benefit. By connecting the digital awareness dots at the board level, the organization can purposively plan the digital ecosystem, explicitly seeks to create an innovative working environment in which people can growth and business can maximize the full potential.

Policy dots: Highly effective boards make good policies for encouraging great things to happen and letting the capability shine. Generally speaking, the policy is a set of principles for decision making or guidelines to drive behaviors. Policies need to serve a purpose. The positive policies make the right things easy to do by everyone and the wrong things hard to do by everyone. There are some organizations out there that have a plethora of policies and many of them are nothing more than that, just a policy. Organizations need to do what their policies say or have the policies say what they do. If not, then the policy is more than likely not needed. The corporate board and top executive teams need to be able to talk the walk and walk the talk all the way, for both setting the good policy and exemplify digital leadership. The policy is implemented via a protocol, process or practice, etc. Just because a policy exists, doesn't mean they will be effective or followed - that takes leadership and commitment.

Information dots: Information and technology catalyze today's digital businesses because information can be refined into business insight which brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Information Systems are the backbone of the digital business. Thus, today’s corporate board has to become IT friendly and technology savvy. IT-savvy board should change the perspective to understand the power of information and the potential of technology. The board’s oversight of information management can highlight the importance of information flow, set the tone for building the culture of information-based decision-making. The IT savvy Board presents the spirit of collaboration and puts the serious effort on bridging the business and IT for improving the overall organizational effectiveness, responsiveness, scale, and make a significant impact on both business’s bottom line survival and top line growth.

People dots: Digital is the age of people. The board needs to set the leadership tone and make good policy for talent management, to ensure the right people with the right capability are put in the right position to solve the right problems. It is all about people dots connection. Dynamic and changing digital organizations cannot operate with static, unchanging people. Thus, empowering the workforce to embrace change is the most effective, efficient and result-oriented management in organizations. If the corporate board and top leadership team can practice open and visionary leadership and encourage the innovative spirit of experimentation, regardless of the nature of the organization, you will also find some similarities in culture, because the corporate personality is often the imitation of its leaders. The human element of change entails a people-centric approach to digital management style.

Process & capability dots: Business capabilities underpin strategy management, and business processes underpin business capability. Business process management will become relevant to the board and C-level when it contributes to getting relevant performance issues on their agenda proactively. It is also a thinking tool (a philosophy or a strategy) to connect the business dots cross-functionally or business improvement tool that may or may not involve the use of specific technology tools to analyze, formalize, coordinate and audit the way that works get done, for eliminating waste and improving business efficiency and competence. So, when process/capability management comes to managing change from the perspective of strategy or execution, managing change by setting expectations with different stakeholders appropriately is essential to ensure the 'battle of ideas' is done best with a 'blended approach' - tactical wins, combined with a gradual buildup of practice, stakeholder engagement, and multidimensional business value realization.

Lessons-learned dot: LESSON LEARNED is what you learned from what you did in given business circumstances, and that could be what you did right or what you did wrong. The LESSON LEARNED is important at the board level because it directly impacts the boardroom maturity. LESSON LEARNED should happen continuously throughout the boardroom practices, continue to examine the lessons learned either from making certain decisions or learn from other boardroom practices and consider whether what you learned should be developed into a BEST PRACTICE. Either way, to capture the lessons learned as you go along, together with the decision process that led you to make the choice you did since that provides context for the learning and make continuous improvement for either decision making and business advising.  BEST PRACTICE with LESSON LEARNED ensures the success of your boardroom practices. Best Practice is something you should do, but LESSON LEARNED helps you learn what not to do.

The strong evidence from business studies revealed many organizations had handbooks, policies, incident reporting, annual/general training, threat assessment teams, but they failed to prevent preventable incidents or manage innovation because their organization was not equipped to connect all the right dots and their people were not equipped to do the right things and not equipped to do all the things their policies, obligations, and regulations say they should do. Building a high-effective digital board requires thinking, dots connection, requiring asking questions, to complement each other’s strength and balance of multiple perceptions, to avoid group thinking or extreme thinking, to talk the walk and walk the talk, in order make the sound judgment, amplify leadership impact, and improve boardroom maturity.


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