Saturday, September 1, 2018

Digitizing the Boardroom with Three “I”s

The digital board is democratic, diversified, cogitative, and proactive, bring different opinions and viewpoints. 

The digital Board is responsible for ensuring an appropriate mix of skills, knowledge, and experience are present or available for it to fulfill its functions. Developing a contemporary digital board is not only about filling with cool-headed, high-professional and high-intelligent BoDs, but also about making good policies, advocating changes, and monitoring the progress to ensure they are leading the business in the right direction. Here is three “I”s to digitize the boardroom.

Insight: Boards need to have qualified candidates who bring identity and cognitive diversity to a big table. Insight is being able to identify the root cause of a problem or the core issues of a situation which leads to understanding and resolution. Anyone who is selected to sit on a corporate board should be fully qualified to bring fresh insight to mind the cognitive gap. In many traditional companies, the big or small decisions are often based on static or outdated information available and the “gut feeling” of decision makers. Insight takes both creativity and reasoning, intuition and logic, the power of acute observation and deduction, questioning, connection, penetration, discernment, perception. The board needs diversity, more accurately, cognitive difference, to provide a perspective that can fill gaps in board discussion and shares the insight about the multitude of business disciplines and practices.

Innovation: Governance is to steer, oversee, and monitor business management. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. Innovation is simply too important to delegate to the management completely. Innovation needs a level of guidance, it has to deliver business objectives, but it needs the right kind of governance to thrive. The board plays an important role in innovation governance. There’re a lot of confusions about innovation and there is no magic sauce to guarantee its success. Governance needs to advocate, steer, and sustain innovation, set the framework for innovation management, manage risks and maximize its business values. A good governance standard provides a common corporate "language" as well as work instructions. Remember governance isn’t just about putting restrictions, it is also about monitoring and knowing when things are not going to plan so that you can take appropriate actions at the right time to improve the success rate of innovation management.

Inclusiveness: From the boardroom to the management team, leaders should always look at the capabilities and skills that they don't have so that they can build a winning team and complement each other. Digital means blurred functional/organizational/industrial/geographical borders or territories, thus, multidisciplinarity is in demand to overcome changes in either solving complex business problems or improving leadership effectiveness. Learn how to shape an objective view without the cognitive bias that results from systemic ignorance or neglect of the cognitive layer of the whole. The business leaders must work with the right mindset to create an inclusive organization with every dip in the business lifecycle. Organizations need to build an inclusive culture, this only happens when the ‘inclusiveness mindset’ is available to the board and top management. It is a waste of resources to leave any valuable human potential left unrecognized, untapped and unused. Inclusiveness needs to be well embedded in the business culture in a high-mature digital organization.

The digital board is democratic, diversified, cogitative, and proactive, bring different opinions and viewpoints. The journey of digitalization often needs to work cross boxes instead within the box; go broad to embrace the digital ecosystem and dig deeper for making effective decisions. Embracing three “I”s helps the board directors exercise leadership influence over volatility, manage uncertainty, simplify complexity, and master the art and science of digitalization.


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