Thursday, November 16, 2017

Three “P”s to Digitize Boardroom

Leadership is an influence and a practice, there is no magic recipe otherwise.

The Corporate Board is one of the most crucial leadership pillars in modern businesses. Because they have a significantly broad effect on setting business policy, overseeing strategy, tuning business mentality and personality, driving motivation, defining the appetite of innovation, sharpening leadership skills, advocating learning, pulling teams, and improving risk intelligence, etc. However, many boards today still get stuck with a view of the rear mirror mindset and focus on compliance-driven agendas. Digital board directors exemplify leadership influence. Digitalization starts from the top down, here are three “P” words to innovate boards for achieving directorship excellence.

Perception: We are stepping into the digital era with the increasing speed of changes, with a high degree of uncertainty, hyperconnectivity, and fierce competition. Corporate boards play a critical advising role in steering the company in the right direction. Therefore, their perception must be update and objective, otherwise, the outdated perceptions could enlarge leadership gaps, decelerate digital transformation, and stifle human progress. Perception is one's interpretation of reality. Board directors need to continue clarifying: What are the gaps between our perception and reality? How to overcome cognitive bias caused by prepositioned perceptions, how to close those perception based gaps and steer the business in the right decision? Etc. Insight is perception through multidimensional thinking. To close the perception gap, the mind needs to be open enough to embrace other minds’ perception as well, to always understand things via different angles. The board composition needs to embrace both cognitive difference, functional difference, and other experience/capability/background/education difference. Appreciates that the value of alternative perspective and insights which say nothing of not trusting, simply looking from a different stance, and asking different questions.

Proficiency: The corporate board directors shouldn’t be just the ceremonial role to vote for a couple of business issues. The top digital leaders need to have a proficient understanding of their particular organization's performance and potential. To lead organizations towards the uncharted water and blurred territories, today’s digital board directors must continue updating their knowledge, build a broad set of skills, develop an in-depth understanding of their domains, and create a comprehensive leadership portfolio with differentiated leadership competency and hardcore leadership proficiency. To reach a state of knowledge proficiency, it is also important to identify and close the gap between knowledge and insight. The digital directors need to understand their environment profoundly and playing field to oversee the strategy for identifying blind spots and harnessing the opportunities identified. The corporate board exemplifies contemporary leadership proficiency. Digital leaders today need to be more original, positive, progressive, courageous, conscious, creative, curious, challenging convention, maximizing diversity and being willing to experiment, as a basis for then being able to think differently, independently, and globally.

Progress: The BoD role sets the top leadership’s tone for progression and affects most through cohesive communication, congruent behavior, and continuous endorsement of the change to keep the momentum. Progress represents change. Progress itself is a change, either by individual or group efforts or induced by environmental and cultural tangible and intangible force. Digital leadership is a unique combination of leadership mindsets and behaviors that develop and achieve high quality and meaningful results over a sustained period of time. Progressive and insightful digital BoDs who laser focus on using energy and resource strategically, have better chances to figure out the “secret sauce” of directorship, to make positive leadership influence and achieve the progressive outcome.

Modern directorship is both art and science, the boardroom culture is engendered by board leaders. It’s all about leadership from the top which sets the tone for changes and innovation. Leadership is an influence and a practice, there is no magic recipe otherwise. The digital leaders should think that every minute of their time counts, to achieve leadership proficiency, because the path of mastery is something that unfolds day by day, there is no time to waste. Good leaders are continually practicing, experiencing, learning, adjusting, and innovating.


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