Thursday, May 17, 2018

Three Aspects of the Board Refreshment

The new breed of BoDs has the advantage of bringing up the fresh viewpoints, reframing the existing or emerging problems, and rejuvenating leadership styles.

The digital paradigm is an emerging ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries, also provide guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital rules. The high-performance board makes the disproportional impact on running a high-performance business through their invaluable oversight of the strategy and relentlessly inspiring changes and innovation. To improve directorship effectiveness, there are quite a lot of things digital boards need to shape up, and there are so many issues the boards have to deal with. Here are three aspects of the board refreshment.

The outlier’s viewpoint: The beauty of the digital landscape is the fresh insight of business. Sometimes organizations go stale, from the boardroom to front line, they need the fresh blood, the so-called "shot in the arm" of someone who thinks different, help to open leadership mindset by understanding the other side of the coin or connect unusual dots to spark creativity. The contemporary board plays a crucial role in policy making and driving changes. Therefore, it is so important to envisioning the future or seek out different voices or interdisciplinary insight. The outlier’s viewpoint helps the board to think forward and contemplate deeper because many things outside of box yesterday has become the new reality today, and invisible elements are often the dominant success factors of running the high-performance digital business and making the progressive movement.

The quality and diverse experience: Many board directors are top seasoned executives with decades of experience. Forward-looking boards are looking for quality and diverse experience for improving governance effectiveness. Experience, be it bad or good, has a repository of learnings of "do & don't"; it is about always learning new things through it - either it’s success or failure. Working with attention to important detail by staying focused at the moment while having a certain awareness of the big picture is the best way to refine quality experiences. Experience is also personal. People have cognitive differences, even two people experience exactly the same thing, they might have totally different feedback, and tell a completely different story. Thus, building a heterogeneous board with diverse background and experience is important to fill leadership blindspots, bridge insight gaps, and improve decision effectiveness. Boards that are too homogenous are at much higher risk of making poor decisions or not asking the questions that need to be asked for policy enforcement or governance maturity.

The different Leadership style: If leadership substance is about why and what of leadership, then, leadership style is the way how something is said or done, as distinguished from its substance. If leadership substance is always about direction and change, and then, leadership style needs to be adjusted to reflect the paradigm shift. Now, we are slowly but steadily moving to the digital economy with an abundance of knowledge and continuous disruption. Command & control management is soon running out of steam because you can control people’s behaviors, but you can’t manipulate how they think. The problem of C&C is not even 'command and control,’ it's authoritarian behavior and bureaucratic decision-making. Developing a world-class board requires that the corporate boards should lead changes, walk the talk, and refresh their leadership styles to get digital ready. The digital leading styles focus on convincing, inclusiveness, collaboration, flexibility, understanding, innovativeness, outside-in, empathy, global accent, and intrapreneurship.

The more a board represents or mirrors its stakeholders, the better served will be the organization. The new breed of BoDs has the advantage of bringing up the fresh viewpoints, reframing the existing or emerging problems, and rejuvenating leadership styles. It’s all about leadership from the top which sets the digital tones to make the digital paradigm shift seamlessly.


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