Thursday, February 1, 2018

The “Vision” Thing in the Digital Boardroom

The board directors with visionary mindsets have the ability to think the past, perceive what is now and foresee the future.

Vision is a future state of being. The vision needs to be a good metaphor - 'the guiding light' so that people can see themselves and their work reflected in it. BoDs and C-level roles are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, possess sufficient knowledge to understand the business ecosystem, develop the business vision to predict the emergent trends of business, technology or industry, so they can guide the executive team to the right direction and lead the organization towards its future confidently.

To envision the emergent trends: Vision is about having a positive outlook on the future that is not predicated on the past or present. The macro trends are more significant than others in their impact. Some corrections require more drastic paradigm shifts with corresponding economic impacts, predictable political challenges or technological disruptions. Corporate boards play a critical role in overseeing the strategy and practicing governance discipline. Thus, board directors need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal, external, national and global forces that define and influence the way we do business these days. Try to understand the drivers shaping the underlying structures and dynamics as well. The vision thing matters in the boardroom. It is through identifying the “destination,” BoDs can steer the organization into the uncharted water and blurred digital territories steadily, focus on what the organization needs to look like alongside the impetus and sense of urgency, toward the destination at the right speed.

To envision the substance of things unseen: One can see an egg another sees an omelet, to envision the substance of things unseen is the inspiration for innovation. To be innovative is to transform the single thread into a beautiful garment, words to poetry, ideas expanded to create more ideas. Vision differentiates advanced strategic boards from the compliance-focused board. Because they can provide the direction with confidence, oversee the strategy with sound judgment, predict risks with accuracy, spot raw talent - the diamond in rough wisely, and set digital principles to innovate constantly. Board directors are the leadership role, leadership is the adventure to explore unknown, and have confidence and insight to navigate the business on the right path. Given the right resources of knowledge, experience, and talent; a bridge may be created between the current 'impossible' to a whole new 'possible.'

To envision is to shape the future together: There is a process of envisioning and creating preferred futures. Foresight is an ongoing conversation in the boardroom. It is something you engage in as a matter of practice. A systems approach to the future would say that you co-create it. That is a much more active and engaged approach to shaping the future. It’s important to emphasize the vision thing in the boardroom because that is the role of directorship for -overseeing, advising, influencing, and inspiring. In practice, revisit, test and always broaden involvement. Because the more you can clearly paint the image of why the company is in the situation it is in, and convey the vision of a new world, the better you could prepare and co-create the future. A vision re-conceptualizes the future, connects the previously unconnected dream and clarify "the art of possible." It spurs imaginations and opens the mind to new concepts and ideas. To predict is to control; to co-create is to influence what you would like to bring into being. A strong and compelling vision would be understandable and at the same time exciting for all people who are needed to make the vision come true.

The board directors with visionary mindsets have the ability to think the past, perceive what is now and foresee the future. Vision should be stable enough to make it worthwhile for performing a concerted effort to attain it and dynamic enough to be able to react to any change in business direction or context. Visionary BoDs help the business management clarify the strategic goals, apply the vision to crucial business problems at hand and lead the organization toward the brighter future with well-defined destinations.


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