Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gap Minding Leadership Practices in Digital Boardroom

Practicing gaping minding in boardrooms is one of the significant steps in creating the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony.

Digitalization makes the business flatter and the world smaller because of its nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Competition at the leading edge of business is also becoming fiercer at the age of digitalization and globalization. Thus, successful companies need to grow and innovation is no longer "nice to have," but must have business competency. The corporate board plays a critical role in setting policies for innovation and exemplifying leadership influence. Thus, foresightful BoDs should always look for the complementary mindsets, diverse experiences, and differentiated skillsets so that collectively, they can avoid groupthink, make sound judgments, provide innovative advice and mind leadership gaps to ensure the boardroom digital ready.

Bridging insight gaps: The digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous, many say that the multitude of gaps (thinking, knowledge, innovation, strategy execution, etc.) are enlarged because different industries, organizations, functions, and individuals evolve with varying speed. Minding gap is challenging because many organizations are still operated with the silo mentality and practice the traditional management discipline. Therefore, to get into the deep, deep digital reality, businesses today must bridge the insight gap to both frame problems and solve them effectively. Top leadership roles such as board directors are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, envisioning and leading the business towards its future. Thus, gap minding leadership practices in the digital boardroom are truly about embracing the “diversity in thought” as the gold nugget, and close leadership blindspots to improve directorship maturity. Leadership is about the future and change, innovation, and progress, which are all based on a clear vision and profound insight. A leader changes the course of the business by seeing beyond what all others see and by understanding issues from new perspectives. Gap-minding leadership practices are important because if you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future.

Bridging communication gap:  On the rocky road to digital transformation, the board and senior leadership team need to have a good strategy on how they leverage evidence-based communication and use the information to make the right decision to win in the marketplace. In traditional organization setting, from top-down, being divided by so many chasms across leadership, management, and innovation, etc., organizations often lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge, decrease effectiveness, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term. To improve communication effectiveness, it might need to first categorize what kind of communication bottlenecks existing and which communication gaps should be closed. There are hard communication barriers such as out of date processes, procedures, practices or soft ones like culture, politics or leadership style, etc. Communication effectiveness can be improved when the hard barriers are break down and soft obstacles are overcome. Board directors need to have the capabilities, such as using the right language, influence skills, personal brand development and so on etc., that will enable them to communicate effectively.

Bridging innovation gaps: From the boardroom to the front line, innovation should be the focal point to keep the business ahead of the competition. To bridge innovation gaps, the organization needs to have open-minded leadership and build a culture of learning. if you get the culture right, then people feel they have the freedom to try and even to fail. Corporate board as one of the critical leadership pillars should set the tone for encouraging innovation and advocating changes. Being innovating is the state of mind to think and do things from a new angle. Innovation becomes simply “creating value by solving simple or complex problems.” There’re also many ‘flavors’ of innovations, such as systematic innovation, customer-centric innovation, open innovation, design-driven innovation, or management innovation., etc. Being innovative is to discover alternative solutions, study the choices and select the best possible implementable way for solving either old or emergent business problems. The board can contribute to both innovation management and management innovation. From the board composition perspective, the heterogeneous team with the cognitive difference is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting, as good ideas are multidimensional, they take root in unsuspected places and they evolve with time and by unexpected connections. Today’s digital board simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and the boards can make a significant contribution to set the stage for innovation.

Effective leadership differs by level, the type of organization, the stage of organizational evolution, the mindset of stakeholders, particular boards of directors, the complexity of the business, and many other variables. Practicing gaping minding in boardrooms is one of the significant steps in creating the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony, enforcing deep understanding of the necessity of digital awareness, accelerating idea flow, and improving leadership maturity.


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