Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The BoDs as “Digital Agilist”

Digital BoDs are supposed to be the guiding force and equipped with an "agile mentality" to enforce collaboration, advise the management on the continuous improvement of the multidimensional shareholder’s value wisely.

The business world has shifted from the industrial age to the digital era with “VUCA” reality, business agility is both philosophy and methodology, mindset, and framework. 

The role of BoD must always focus on the strategic initiatives of the organization amidst the mounting pressure of GRC responsibilities, and become the “Digital Agilists” who are able to phenomenally disciplined in focusing on creating value, developing the “digital-ready agenda,” overseeing the business strategy, setting “continuous improvement” culture tones, and steering their organization forward in the uncharted water smoothly.

Enforce “agile discipline”: The business agility as one of the most important digital characteristics based on self-adaptation is the capability and management discipline to adapt to the change. “Agile discipline” is about embracing “agile” principles and values, setting guidelines and policies, and developing the best and next practices to harness communication and enforce business manageability. The BoD assumes the dual role of guidance and governance, they advocate agile philosophy, whilst leaving the day-to-day leadership/management disciplines, processes, and practices in the hands of the C-level executives and holding them accountable in achieving high-performance.

At the top level, Agile needs to be the philosophy to perceive multidimensional business values. In many traditional organizations, there are many roadblocks in an agile way- from silo mindset to culture of mediocre; from misunderstanding to lack of focus, etc. Although the discipline is most needed at the leadership level in which they often don’t have effective planning processes nor methodologies to identify value streams that they work in. The “digital agilist” BoDs should have open mindsets to adjust their thinking processes according to the changes in the business environment, have a collaborative attitude and learning agility to enforce governance, develop a framework approach to fortify business agility in a structural way.

Encourage progress and advocate a culture of improvement -always have the planning to be getting better: Agile is not a process you can implement but rather a set of leadership philosophy and a change of culture, with a set of principles to refine business culture and management discipline. It promotes great flexibility and opportunity to change, harnesses self-organization which directs the individual perspectives into creative, adaptive, iterative, and incremental problem-solving approaches.

It’s important for BoDs to articulate agility from a cultural perspective and encourage continuous improvement. So organizations at any scale can retain an overall sense of vision and purpose, communicate effectively, continuously improve, reflect on their limitations honestly, and adapt to change promptly. Digital BoDs who can laser focus on using energy and resource strategically, have better chances to figure out the “secret sauce” of directorship, wear an "agile" mindset, gain a progressive view to make positive leadership influence, and advise the business management to achieve the higher-than-expected business outcome.

Increase value and decrease risk: There are emerging technology trends and there are continuous disruptions. Many organizations across vertical sectors are unable to adapt to disruptive changes smoothly because of rigid flexibility and lack of agility. The corporate board’s strategic oversight and “agile mentality” helps the management clarify how each part of the organization, including all of the key functions must "put it all together" to be successful in implementing the strategy, adapt to change, increase value and decrease risks, bring tangible business results, and reach the business vision ultimately.

The world keeps spinning and innovating around you, this becomes a steading state with dynamic equilibrium rather than an “end state.” Organizations today have to become more resilient with a high level of agility and maturity. Corporate boards need to decide whether management is achieving expectations, gain an in-depth understanding of what’s blocking business achievements, targets, and work closely with the senior management for identifying both business risks and opportunities and focusing on doing fundamental things right.

Involve the whole ecosystem: Agility involves the whole ecosystem, including all the stakeholders, from the customer’s requirement to continuous delivery. A digital enterprise has to be linked to the many and varying touchpoints between itself and its ecosystem environment in which business interactions and relationships are intertwined and information flows in a non-stop way. Running an agile organization is about continuous improvement, and this implies constant changes, discovering new ways of working, collaborating, delivering value by overcoming friction and challenges.

A new paradigm arises out of new mindsets, updated knowledge, and structural approaches. At the board level, it is transformational to “step outside” of the business system for having different perspectives to gain an in-depth understanding of the business dynamics, apply an agile lens to break down silo mentality, fill the blind spots, set priority right, and improve leadership profundity. It helps to look at transformation goals as more often an enterprise strategic decision to achieve long term business goals.

Governance is a sophisticated process that if well executed, will lead the business to the future effortlessly. You don't have any other choices but develop your strength, change your sails for leading forward step-wisely. Corporate board directors as top directorship roles are able to sense that the digital transformation is multifaceted and highly volatile, they are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise and equipped with an agile mentality to enforce collaboration, advise the management on the maximization of the business capital allocation and continuous improvement of the multidimensional shareholder’s value wisely.


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