Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Constructive Criticism in the Boardroom

The true critical thinking and constructive criticism are very important for the business’s improvement continuum. 

The corporate board plays a crucial role in overseeing business strategy and driving business transformation. Criticism shows portrayal of ideas, concerns, directions, and attitudes. Asking good questions to management or the board members themselves is not the “wasting time” activity, it can help to clarify the vision and bring the new insight about how to steer the company in the right direction.

The high performing digital board shows the ability and openness to "question itself and its decisions/discussions": Critical Thinkers live out of the box, ask open questions to collect relevant information and share fresh insight. At the age of exponential growth of information and business complexity, leaders may not always have all the right answers; but they should always ask the right questions. How to ask the right questions is not only just the raw intelligence to reflect people's intellectual curiosity, it becomes the new skill needs to be sharpened and focused on, to co-solve the common problems and co-create the better world. The science of questioning is about asking the right question at the right time to the right person for the right information. It is based on the art of listening, it’s the attitude, trust, and it’s the soft science of communication embedded with hard science of problem-solving competency.

Constructive criticism and smart skepticism are the hidden gems shining through the board discussions: The board directors with insight and foresight about the business can ask profound questions because they can observe thoroughly, have better critical thinking ability and learning agility. They not only ask the right questions but rather, absorb information, forecast business potentials, risks, and benefits; mitigate, compare and contrast options, facts, ideas against logic and creativity. Because criticism from a "competent and genuine critic" such as the corporate board is really good for business well beings. You must be capable of imbibing such real criticism and discover its true value to help the business improve and innovate. It is also important to know what context are we using the term "critic,” the constructive criticisms such as good advice or timely feedback is crucial to drive advancement either individually or at the business scope.

Take a structural way to make inquiries: Asking good and pertinent questions are critical for governing changes so that the board of directors would have to be able to quickly assess any numbers and facts they are given, against applicable benchmarks and detect relevant hints for further questioning or confirmation. In practice, critical thinking board directors do not just ask one or two random questions, they ask in a structural way, continually on important issues where the management's answers do not make sense, continue looking for new perspectives, insight or alternative solutions. Constructive critics are like a mirror, providing the management an important alert of forthcoming challenges they are facing, pinpoint their blind spots and improve management effectiveness.

The criteria of great questions and constructive criticism should not have a border, just like the true art and science are timeless and without boundary. Highly effective board directors present learning agility and practice multi-dimensional thinking, help the management discover the ignored facts, explore new possibilities, and figure out better ways to manage and lead change effortlessly.


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