Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Three Pitfalls in Boardroom

The corporate board needs to continue questioning important issues, overcome barriers, avoid pitfalls, with the goal of providing the right guidance to lead businesses moving forward steadfastly.

The modern digital board has many responsibilities, also gets a lot of frustration, and hits many pitfalls on the digital transformation. Driving the business forward is extremely difficult. This means looking into an unknown future and attempting to define the landscape with its risks and opportunities, to steer the business in the right direction. Here are three pitfalls in digitizing the boardroom.

Blind spots: Corporate boards play a crucial role in the strategic oversight and risk monitoring, it is important to identify and fill blindspots in improving governance effectively. The root causes of blind spots are often people’s mentality such as ego or bias, lack of interdisciplinary knowledge, or insight. Even majority of board directors are seasoned executives with decades of experience, as senior leaders, they should still feel humbled to realize that there are many things they might not know due to fast-growing information and over-complex business dynamic. They should also learn to ask tough questions to themselves, to business management for dealing with blind spots and bridge the multitude of digital gaps; learn how to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Until that happens, you will continue on the lives of blindness. The ignorance about the importance of cognitive difference and the behavioral dynamics that operate within their board (team) is contributing to the generally poor performance of boards. From the board composition perspective, the non-executive members should be selected for their ability and willingness to constructively challenge management. 

Complacency: Organizations and individuals that are complacent do not look for new opportunities or hazards. Leaders often miss the big picture and become complacent! From the board to the front line, riding ahead of the change curve takes vision, strategy, courage, methodology, principles, and practices. Complacency almost always stems from a sense of success or living in a comfort zone. Avoiding complacency is essential to any business's long-term longevity. Thus, boards need to exemplify leadership discipline for overcoming complacency. Once that barrier is broken, a positive change process can commence. A complacency mind gets used to reacting, not being proactive. In addition, never think you know it all even you are at the top of the organizational pyramid. The positive energy for changes needs to flow down from the top (boardroom). Create an innovative boardroom with a “free atmosphere,” so directors are inquisitive to ask great, tough questions for understanding better as well as providing invaluable input.

Distraction: The modern digital board has many responsibilities, also gets a lot of distractions. There are so many things on the board agenda spread to the thin slice of their time. Therefore, it has to laser focus on the most critical things to steer the business in the right decision. The catalyst for the question is what appears to be a chasm between what directors claim as the priority and what actually occurs when boards are in session. A high-performance board needs to set the priority right, it has to laser focus on the most critical things, pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, innovation, and mastering digital fluency. With the strong focus on strategic issues from the boardroom to management, organizations can achieve the high expectation of strategy management and manage a seamless digital paradigm shift.

The corporate board's role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest; to understand the business landscape and how it will address it; to continue questioning on important issues, overcome barriers, avoid pitfalls, with the goal of providing the right guidance to lead business moving forward steadfastly.


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