Thursday, September 3, 2020

BoD’s Leadership Enforcement From Visibility to Understanding to Guidance

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 challenge facing organizations these days is related to increasing complexity, the exponential growth of information, unprecedented uncertainty & ambiguity, increasing rate of change, and fierce competition. We no longer live in the "isolated" world that runs in years, but one that is hyperconnected and runs in minutes. 

With so many distractions or disruptions, leading business forward is extremely challenging because there are so many things going on with a mixed bag of opportunities and risks. The corporate board of directors plays a significant role in steering the business in the right direction and enforcing their strategic leadership practices from visibility to understanding to guidance.

Visibility: The corporate BoDs oversee the business strategy. It is about identifying blind spots, understanding gaps, and classifying pitfalls on the journey of strategy management, or assessing the overall practicality of the strategy. Strategy complexity usually involves early in the life-cycle and careful examination of numbers and types of stakeholders across the organization; internal variables and numbers of external dependencies, etc. When strategic complexity can be “visualized” in a better way, BoDs should ponder their role in the strategy management, gain the contextual understanding and examine a situation from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system, providing an outlier’s view to the management for strategy making and implementation.

Many times, strategic planning loses viability during their expected window of opportunity. Modifying a plan does not necessarily change the strategy, but it may mean that the strategy has to be re-implemented. Achieving visibility of strategy management helps the leader become more future-oriented and discover the path to where you need to go and be persuasive to lead others in the right direction and reach the destination confidently. 

An insightful outlook from BoDs helps the business management step out of a conventional thinking box or linear patterns, see things further or deeper, clarify the existing problems or challenges, analyze cause and effect based on the identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario of strategic management with the goal to improve the overall strategy success rate.

Understanding: Organizations generally consist of varying intersecting and interacting systems that can be perceived through the lenses of sociology, psychology, technology, anthropology, and economics, etc. Thus, it’s important for BoDs to leverage System principles to gain an in-depth understanding of the interconnectivity and interdependence of the business, work closely with the management to outline the strategic intent, and frame the strategy to be understandable and implementable.

A digital strategy is a compass to navigate through the business transformation journey in organizations today. Effective leadership must come from comprehensive understanding first, before communicating. Insightful BoDs understand the “VUCA” business new normal, understand the multitude of business relationships, understand the multidimensional shareholders’ value, and understand both visible & invisible successful business factors well, in order to offer invaluable feedback for the management to improve and innovate. 

Guide: The environment today is constantly changing and forcing the business to “adjust” timely. Highly effective BoDs today need to leverage their “sense and sensitivity,” to look ahead and imagine what is possible for their organizations, provide invaluable pieces of advice to management on how to drive the corporate vehicle with the steadfast speed, involving unbiased policy setting, making common principles, not to make dual or even triple standards in making sound judgments and improving decision maturity.

Board directors are the senior leadership role, leadership is the adventure to explore the unknown, and have confidence and insight to navigate the business on the right path. Contemporary BoDs intuitively draw on the timeless wisdom and cognizance, and present it in a new synthesis and frame the fresh picture to meet the particular need of the times. It is through identifying the “destination” clearly, BoDs can steer the organization into the uncharted water and blurred digital territories steadily, focus on what the organization needs to look like alongside the impetus and sense of urgency, toward the destination at the right speed confidently.

The digital business is very complex, the BoD leaders need to observe, envision, understand, and guide by paying attention to the myriad of internal, external, national, or global forces that define and influence the way we do business these days, be proactive, and get really creative on how to apply multidimensional thinking to direct the digital paradigm shift. 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.


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