Thursday, July 27, 2017

The “Change Agent” Board of Directors

Leadership or directorship is about setting directions and inspiring changes.

Change is the only constant, and the speed of change is increasing rapidly. The board directors should become interactive change agents that represent the organization, stockholders, and senior management, make a significant influence on setting digital tones and shaping the digital mindset of the organization, both walk the talk and talk the walk and set the digital tone for others to follow.

The board of directors set policies and principles for changes and digital transformation: Change is the new normal, and the speed of change is increasing, without well-preparation, major changes in an organization’s ecosystem can have unforeseen consequences that negatively impact the company’s productivity and performance. More than 70% of Change Management effort fails to achieve the expected result. Thus, it is important to bring the CHANGE wave to the boardroom as well. Digital leaders including board directors should contemplate the big "WHY" and know the dynamic of change and adapt to the ever-evolving business circumstances. Change leadership at the board level is important because change management is an interdependent ecosystem that includes many business factors such as, the company goals, policies, internal control requirements, customer experience improvements/customer satisfaction, etc., all should be synchronized without compromising the need for any item. The well-setting policies and procedures for managing changes should help to track every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources directly relate back to the "Why," to ensure change is not for its own sake, or add the new layer of complexity, but improve business effectiveness and performance.

Strike the right balance of “Push” and “Pull” in Change Management: Change is the new norm and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. Change is a dance between the top management and the affected parts of the organization. Change Management goes hand-in-hand with Strategy Management, the board oversee strategy, and it should also evolve change oversight to ensure smooth strategy management, to enhance the effective communication and deep engagement around change. Change is driven by a combination of the “pull” of the leadership and the “push” of the self-managed teams. There is a distinction between types of organizational change - incremental and transformative. An organization can be observed to have a predominant change culture that is inherent in their approaches, tools, and resourcing. To achieve that, the change agent BoDs need to gain deep insight into how things work just by analyzing the aggregates (not necessary to dive into the details). Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization, with the guideline from top leadership and policy setting via the board directorship.

Directors of the board with the change mind are more skillful to ask ‘right’ questions:  Asking good and pertinent questions are critical for governing changes so the directors would have to be able to quickly assess any numbers and facts they are given, against applicable benchmarks and detect relevant hints for further questioning or confirmation.  The board directors as “change agent” can ask more skillful questions to scrutinize change effectiveness, especially for large-scale business transformation:  Do the senior leaders truly understand the time and impact on the organization, do they have the intestinal fortitude to hold up to corrections in the face of quarterly earnings report pressure? Do the business possess the ability, will, and discipline to cope with change along the way, no matter what happens? Do businesses build change as an ongoing capability? A change agent board has the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, prepare and launch change, innovation, and mastering with digital fluency to make profound leadership influence.

Leadership or directorship is about setting directions and inspiring changes. Change Management has a very wide scope and is a relatively new area of expertise, it needs to focus on coordination and facilitation, follow the right set of principles and take the best or next digital practices.


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