Thursday, February 7, 2019

Three Thinking Pillars in Building Digital Boardroom

The digital boards with all the important thinking pillars can advise wisely and get all business fundamentals right consistently. 

The board of directors is the top leadership role for overseeing strategies and steering their organization in the right direction. Leadership is the adventure to explore unknown, have confidence and insight for steering the right path for their organizations to reach the destination. Building strong thinking pillars help business leaders broaden their perspectives of the dynamic digital ecosystem, deepen their understanding of the interconnected nature of the business, with the ultimate goal to direct the business in the right direction.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is about analyzing, looking beyond the surface, not just accepting things at face value but asking questions and being active in challenging business assumptions or conventional wisdom. Critical Thinking is contextual, both reality oriented and evidence-oriented. It involves induction and deduction. Critical thinking is critical for BoDs to scrutinize the strategy not by asking one or two random questions, but asking in a structural way. It requires an ability to be able to not only ask the great questions but also analyze information forecast potentials; weight in risks and benefits; make comparing and contrast options, balance logic, and creativity. The real critical thinking far outweighs than the conventional critical thinking techniques, such as reason, logic, calculation, and conscious weighing of expected outcomes, etc. It is an iterative thought process leading to a series of refinements based on learning and experience. Critical thinking is a multithreading thought process which helps to enforce governance discipline and improve board effectiveness.  Because it has the ability to catch emerging business trends and discovery of hidden connections, make sound judgments and evaluate performance results.

Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking is about starting the end in mind. It is a strong thinking pillar in the boardroom because a board should be engaged in by scrutinizing the strategy, while strategic thinking is specified as being conceptual, systems-oriented, directional, and linking the future with the past and opportunistic. The BoDs need to gain a deeper understanding of the enterprise in order to be a credible critic in the strategic dialogue. A strategic thinker creates or grasps new opportunities and strikes the delicate balance in the dynamics of the business enterprise. Strategic board directors are often the big picture person as well, set the direction, and do not get lost in mundane detail. They can think multi-dimensionally, leverage different lenses and keep asking tough questions such as, what’s happening in your market and what’re your competitors doing, what could make your vision cloudy and how to clarify it, etc., along with senior management team. They can leverage different lenses to view the complete business system as an ecosystem with all its dependencies and interconnections.


Creative thinking: Creativity is a function of imagination, knowledge, psychology, activities, and evaluation. Many great board directors are outliers who can bring up the fresh perspectives and unique insight to the table. Corporate boards bring the outlier’s view and often have the multidisciplinary understanding of crucial business problems, mainly at the strategic level, as well as creativity to break down conventional thinking. Many people always live with conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom usually has a negative connotation about sticking to outdated concepts, traditions, cultures, or old ways to do things. With being called conventional wisdom, organizations or the society keep nurturing mediocrity and unrealistically keep expecting innovation out of that mediocrity. But being creative requires you to break down the outdated rules or concepts, or the little box which restricts your thinking. The corporate board plays a crucial role in making good policies and set culture tones. Therefore, senior leaders at the board level need to be open-minded for either asking open questions to encourage creativity or explore new possibilities to solve tough business problems creatively.

The digital boards with all the important thinking pillars can advise wisely and get all business fundamentals right consistently. The point is, framing the right problem is equally or even more important than solving it. BoDs as top decision makers require multidimensional thinking and bring different viewpoints to improve business effectiveness and maturity.

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