Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Corporate Board as Digital Shaper

A Board should help to shape the full-fledged digital organization for the long term. 

The business is complex, the world is complex, and leadership is complex. Leadership can be perceived with both broader scope of the open system and in-depth understanding of its interconnectivity and interdependence. The digital directors and executives today need to understand things and circumstance in a holistic way, deal with opposing views, cultures, constraints, and competitions, in order to steer the business in the right direction and navigate it through the uncharted water to lead digital transformation seamlessly.

Shape a clear digital vision: Every C-level leader including BoDs should participate in creating and shaping a company's vision. The digital board leadership needs to be future-oriented and performance driven. BoD leadership vision is to serve as a digital shaper and strategy overseer, to clear the path, whether that is the elimination of obstacles or to provide coaching and guidance. Vision needs to be the hot topic in the boardroom because the forward-looking view can help to predict, prepare, and overcome challenges and deal with uncertainty on the way to the future. Vision is important because many organizations reach the inflection point of digitalization, setting a vision that isn’t high enough doesn’t challenge the organization to excel, but establishing a vision that is based on unrealistic expectations will also mislead and discount the value of creating a vision. The foresightful corporate boards as the guiding light can change the course of the business by seeing beyond what all others could see; connecting interdisciplinary dots and coming up with fresh insight.

Shape the future of the work: Corporate boards play a critical role in overseeing strategies, monitoring business performance, and making the influence on leadership/talent management. Insightful boards are great “rule-maker” - Setting principle or guidelines, grounding rules, and making policies to shape the future or work. The spirit comes from the top, the digital leaders like board directors, are the big shaper of organizational culture. The followers imitate their leaders. If they espouse and exhibit certain characteristics, and then it will be picked up by other members of the organization. To maintain a positive environment, a set of guiding principles can be written on a page. It will be supported by the bulk of employees in defining the boundaries they also wish to maintain. The good policies empower talent, encourage creativity and shape the future of the work to enforce trust and respect that cascades from the top to the bottom, develop the people-centric working environment, and unleash collective business potential.

Shape the harmonized digital ecosystem: Majority of board members are top seasoned executives with varying experience across sectors, they bring invaluable expertise to the big table. The corporate board should not only see inside the business but also understand and even shape the landscape view across the business ecosystem. Business ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated offerings and capture value they could not reach alone. The BoDs as digital shaper can help to purposively plan the ecosystem, also support the business effectively responding to that digital dynamic promptly, broaden the ecosystem view, understanding that real-world business development is multifaceted as the enterprise consists of an amalgam of socio-system, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems,  create new revenue streams, and help the business become more mature.

A Board should help to shape the organization for the long term. It's critical to find the time and a viable board process for discussing the vision thing, long-term strategy and profitably growing the company. Digital Boards are getting better as the awareness grows of how important board composition is in order to lead in today’s digital dynamic. It’s also critical to shape the healthy and energetic workforce improving business competence and develop a harmonized digital ecosystem for enabling business thriving.


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