Wednesday, July 29, 2020

BoDs as Interdisciplinarians

Corporate BoD is a sophisticated leadership role with many responsibilities, such as leadership advising, governance practices, and resource provision. 

We live in a world in which change is the norm and if we don't embrace it, accept it, roll with it, or make it happen, we're not going to be successful. 

The digital enterprises with hyperconnected and interdependent nature are breaking down the functional, geographical, or even organizational border, in fact, businesses today become much more nonlinear, interactive and intelligent than ever. 

Therefore, corporate board directors should have the business vision to seek out the potential and capabilities they’ll need for the future development of the company. The level of the board accomplishment varies but the essential leadership competencies will remain the same - it's all about change and steering the business in the uncharted water skillfully. The modern board directors need to become interdisciplinarians who can navigate the business ship in the right direction and fill their board fiduciary responsibilities effortlessly.

Multidimensional intelligence: In the digital era, we will be confronting a number of high-complex problems in the hyper-connected world, especially at the strategic level. It requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms. The linear thinking and leadership practices are simply not sufficient to manage the “VUCA” digital new normal. Senior leaders at the board level should be skeptical about the conventional understanding of strategic issues so that they examine everything before accepting it for the real truth or advising it to others. They should think multidimensionally and leverage different lenses to see things differently, capture well-blended insight and foresight to make strategic decisions fluently, and build intellectual sophistication of problem-solving capability solidly.

In organic systems like a digital organization, it is argued that the only way to fully understand why a problem or element occurs and persists is to understand their interconnective relationships and complexity. To shape a truly global business, forward-looking corporate boards can think further, bigger, and broader, drive competitive value and global growth by developing world-class insight, which requires critical thinking, holistic thinking, strategic thinking, systems thinking, global thinking and forecasting capability, etc, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems radically.

The breadth and depth of knowledge: Knowledge is power, top organizational leaders such as BoDs should practice knowledge or expert power relevant for either solving tough business problems or coaching the next generation of business managers or professionals. Because often, top leadership today requires an integration of different sets of knowledge and digital fluency across multiple disciplines, so the interdisciplinary business insight should lead them not only to understanding, but also predicting and preparing, dealing with tough situations, treading tough water, and leading the organization toward the uncertain future confidently.

BoDs need to be informative, insightful, influential and ultimately become the mastermind of digital transformation. The top board leaders with high brainpower and creative energy can clarify a clearer vision, explore the breadth and depth of knowledge, balance hard and soft skills, and build a portfolio of leadership capabilities. However, be alert of pitfalls on the way, egotism or unconscious bias could cloud the vision of senior leadership. Sometimes having too much knowledge about something can be a box that closes your mind to innovation, even worse, failing to recognize how vastly ignorant you might become leads to arrogance that would make you narrow-minded and get stuck in conventional wisdom and cause misadjustment all the time. 

Digital fluency and global Insight:
Corporate boards play a critical role in steering the business towards the global business world with uncharted water and blurred boundaries. The board directors need to educate themselves by hearing different views about the organization, its environment & digital ecosystem, strategic alternatives, functionally, geographically, culturally, ecologically, etc. It takes a holistic worldview to choose the decisive factors for making strategic board decisions by involving global capital and collective wisdom, in order to move the business and our society forward steadfastly. 

At the corporate level, a global perspective is important in a more volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, hyperconnected, and globally distributed world as you need a directional guide. Being digital fluent in contextual intelligence aids them in understanding what’s relevant and what’s not, helps them have more antennae focused on the trends and what’s going on in the world, and become unique interdisciplinarians to drive change smoothly. 

Corporate BoD is a sophisticated leadership role with many responsibilities, such as leadership advising, governance practices, and resource provision. No one comes to a senior management role fully prepared for that role. They need to continue sharpening their leadership skills, update knowledge, experiment with better ways to lead and become well-rounded interdisciplinarians to accelerate digital transformation.


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