Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The BoDs as the Digital Rule-Maker

How capable the board can set good policies or make digital rules to “talk the walk,” directly impacts how effectively the organization can walk the talk. 

The purpose of the board of directors is to direct the organization in the right direction. The board directors as senior directorial roles have both privilege and responsibility to “talk the walk,” make the good policies or set digital principles to drive changes and lead digital paradigm shift. The board of directors is the digital rule-maker for getting the business management digital ready.

Digital Thinking Rules: The essence of digitalization is not just about technology, it has to root in the mindset level, to embrace a full set of advanced thinking. Shaping the bigger, much bigger box of thinking is evolutionary at the cognitive level. Because mindset is the most valuable thing to shape every progress, but also the root cause of all mankind problems. Thus, the BoD as the top leadership role needs to advocate deep thinking and helps to set digital thinking rules for improving decision effectiveness and governance maturity. Many times people make a poor judgment, not because of ignorance, but because of the lack of insight. Assumptions and prejudices are due to a lack of deeper understanding. Without true understanding, there is no way to have strong discernment. The most important capability of cognitive mind with a clear discernment is the willingness and ability to seek out new knowledge, address ignorance and the assumptions you make to minimize it. Perhaps the digital board not only should oversee the business strategy but also scrutinize the management “thought processes,” and set digital thinking rules for guiding business decision making and team-setting, to avoid either groupthink or “thinking too much or too little,” etc. It is crucial to apply the multitude of thought processes such as strategic thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, systems thinking, paradoxical thinking, or holistic thinking for an understanding of the holistic digital business ecosystem with “VUCA” characteristics and dealing with emergent issues wisely. The corporate board is both digital thinking practitioner and rule maker.

Digital Innovation Rules: 
Digital is the age of innovation. Digital paradigm shift also includes the perspective of building a scalable innovation environment or innovation ecosystem. The BoDs play a significant leadership role in both innovation management and management innovation. It is important to set digital rules, define the most compelling and unique innovation approach or a mix of different approaches to addressing the needs; develop the next sets of digital innovation practices, to ensure innovation can be managed systematically and develop it as a distinguished business capability. The corporate board also sets the tone for building a culture of learning, creativity, and risk tolerance. As businesses get more cut-throat in the hyper-connected digital environment, innovation has to become part of DNA in an organization. Perhaps the board should innovate and digitize itself first to exemplify leadership innovation. Digital innovation has a broader scope and needs to be managed systematically. Innovation strategy is an integrated component of the business strategy, the board’s oversight of innovation with periodic reviews will help to sustain innovation progress, minimize risks and improve the innovation success rate.

Digital Problem-Solving Rules: Problem-solving is all about fixing something not working in order to make collective progress. We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers or problem solvers. Board directors are seasoned executives who can provide invaluable insight based on their enriched experience. Learn from the past problems and challenges along with encouraging others to learn from the problems that have happened. Also, they can contribute to the unique viewpoint as the business outlier because they don’t evolve in the everyday business. Still, the most important thing at the board level is to set updated digital rules for solving existing and emergent problems. Future, in fact, is the most difficult problems of our era, especially the life cycle of business today grows shorter and shorter, the business problems are also becoming much complex. The further the future impact, the harder it is for those living in today to see any reason to care. But digital boards should be able to see further and perceive better than others in order to steer the business on the thorny journey of the digital paradigm shift. Many problems are tough and complex, and there are different sort of emotion burdens behind it. The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary hassles so that the necessary can speak out. “Keep things simple,” or “Thinking out of the box,” etc, are all great digital rules to encourage creative problem-solving. Sometimes there is no "one" answer, there are some or many. The progress is in simplicity. "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.” - Albert Einstein

Top directorship roles such as board directors are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, envisioning and leading the business towards its future. At the board level, “talk the walk” is even more important than “walk the talk.” How capable the board can set good policies or make digital rules directly impacts how effectively the organization can walk the talk. It is important to set the digital rules for making the bottom line not lagging behind; but more importantly, it’s strategic imperative to set the rule for inspiring the top line thriving, advancing, and accelerating collective progress. In the end, policy-making is not about models and theories, slogans or the business cliche. It’s about people being willing to be held accountable, following the good rules voluntarily for their own benefit, and making the workplace more productive, innovative, and delightful.


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