Monday, April 30, 2018

The Digital Board’s Digital Inquiries

The digital boards ask tough questions, collect invaluable feedback, update digital principles for harnessing communication and enforcing governance effectiveness.

The digital era is hyperconnected, volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous. It is the digital paradigm shift. Adopting a different paradigm is like changing the glasses and new possibilities might emerge. The corporate board plays an important role in overseeing digital strategy, advising executive teams and monitoring performance. To run a high performance and high mature digital organization, it is important to bridge the multitude of leadership and management gaps and creating the momentum for speeding up changes. Here is a set of the digital board’s digital inquiries.

Is executive management of the company top-notch? Fundamentally, leadership is about the future and change. At its heart, leadership practice is a problem-solving process. Digital is the journey to reach a state of delight. To check up quality, performance, and influence of the business management team, the board should ask themselves as well as executives: What’re the most critical elements in digital leadership? Is the leadership team world-class or just locally fit? Do you have a homogenous or heterogeneous team setting? Can executives think deeper or just speak louder? Do leadership team just follow the rules to keep the wheel spinning, or break down the old rules if necessary to make the real difference? Can they both lead and manage? Is leadership more strategic or tactical? Top notch digital leaders have to be able to infect and encourage with their vision and generate conviction and enthusiasm for the missions of the company. They are visionary, innovators, also good communicators, good facilitators, good listeners, and good collaborators. The leader is a problem-solver, enjoy understanding the complexity and guide people through it; finding common ground and initiating dialogues. At the hyper-connected digital era, to break down stereotypical biases or any types of bias, learning agility, cognitive difference, continuous delivery, expert power, and dynamic digital footprint become the significant part of developing the inclusive digital leadership model. Collectively, a top-notch leadership team has complementary mindsets, skills, and capabilities to solve the problem creatively and lead the organization on the path of advancement, growth, and maturity.

Has the firm reached the next round of growth cycle or missed an inflection point of digitalization? 
Leading digital companies can stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation with all essential dimensions (people, culture, organizational structure, process) to adapt to the new world of the business. A strategic inflection point is a time in the lifecycle of a business when its fundamentals (people, process, technologies, cultures) are about to change. There is a learning curve behind them. In order to make effective changes, you have to know the underneath structure and processes of your business, because they underpin the digital capabilities of the organization. Otherwise, companies may begin a decline from its previous good performance. Digital organizations arise and reach the next cycle of growth when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions amplifies the collective capability to achieve more values for the organization. Perhaps organizations will miss the inflection point of digitalization when the processes are overly rigid, the structure is strictly hierarchical, and people have change inertia and overall lack of differentiated business competency. In practice, a mature organization is one that can quickly and safely assess all of the consequences of a possible change and devise effective plans to provide a combination approach for having both sense of urgency and overcoming change curve, to achieve and sustain those changes - and to do them continuously.

Is the company’s portfolio too complex? Or is the cost structure too high? Complexity has increased exponentially and has become part of digital new normal. There are unknown interactions and very high inner dynamics in complexity. The board oversees strategy, they should also scrutinize further by asking tough questions. Business portfolio rationalization is an activity more critical than ever because economic cycles are getting shorter, and decision cycles are getting short. The size and mix of the business portfolio depend on the business situation, strategic objectives and severity of external challenges or changes. In fact, many organizations have little insight into their overall health of portfolio, cost structures and who is consuming the assets. They have no idea where they are spending their money on and often assume it is mainly being spent on items which are actually much lower on the list. Managing digital portfolio should be integrated with the annual strategic planning process and financial investment model. Generally, all businesses should have a handful of "bets" in the breakthrough category. In order to make the portfolio executable, an organization needs to make sure enough resources are available to deliver projects and programs, also manage the interdependencies of the project accordingly. Moreover, a gap analysis, skills assessment, efficiency study, workflow analysis, and knowledge of trends and models that work best to meet the business goals are needed before new schemes and designs are created and agreed upon across the business.

The digital boards ask tough questions, collect invaluable feedback, update digital principles for harnessing communication and enforcing governance effectiveness. The challenge is how you move the ‘needle’ forward, and really mind the digital gap to accelerate your organization’s digital transformation.


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