Thursday, April 8, 2021

BoDs as Masterful Problem-Solvers

Problem-solving is both art and science. BoDs need to be strategic, insightful, creative, and highly effective problem-solvers. 

Upon the digital paradigm shift, we are experiencing at the moment, with the new characteristics such as hyper-connectivity and interdependence of the digital world we live in. 

In order to steer the organization in the right direction, Board Directors need to understand the difference between being a director and the operator of the business, enforcing governance discipline which is less about structure and rules than being focused, effective and accountable. They often delegate the well-defined problems to management for solving them or implementing solutions to tailor varying circumstances smoothly.

Integrative thinking BoDs consider the problem as a whole, rather than breaking it down and farming out the parts: There are so many variables in today's world, it is nearly impossible to quantify the one cause and effect. Integrative thinkers BoDs focus on framing the right problems at the strategic level and approach problem architecture differently. Rather than try to deal with elements in piece-parts or sequentially, they strive at all times to keep a “big picture” -the whole of the problem in mind while working on the individual parts.

To be a good problem-definer, BoDs often have the multidisciplinary understanding of crucial business problems, mainly at the strategic level, gain deep insight into the problem as a whole, not necessary to dive into the details. Framing the right question more often needs to step back or get out of the box, in order to look at the problem from a different angle or understand the issues holistically. 

Integrative thinking BoDs are inclined to seek out alternative views: Since the dawn of the 20th century is partly responsible for many of the prevailing global problems due to the silo thinking and bureaucracy. Integrative thinking BoDs are looking at an issue from multiple perspectives and leverage an interdisciplinary lens to get the “scope” of the problem, see a larger system with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals; understand the interdependent pieces, what contexts it is used in and which behaviors are evoked.

They tend to consider most variables of a problem to be salient. Outlier digital leaders today are the one who can step out of a conventional thinking box or linear patterns, see things further or deeper, and be creatively disruptive. Rather than seeking to simplify a problem as much as possible, they are inclined to seek out alternative views and contradictory data, rather than only getting information fed by management. In Fact, leadership maturity is simply having the ability to live comfortably with contradictory thoughts, collect invaluable feedback from varying stakeholders, express things courageously, and enforce GRC practices effortlessly.

Integrative thinking BoDs strive for creative resolutions: We live in the world full of paradoxes. The paradox is like the two sides of the coin, they are not just opposite, but also complementary, to make it a whole. When faced with two opposing options that seem to force a trade-off, integrative thinkers strive for a creative resolution of the tension rather than simply accepting the choice in front of them, bring the outlier's view for analyzing problems more objectively and dispassionately in order to frame the right problems or brainstorm potential solutions.

Further-looking board directors are both creative and critical thinkers who live out of the box, ask open questions to collect relevant information, and think of alternative solutions to tough problems. They exhibit a creative tension between collegiality and challenge. Problem-solving is both art and science. BoDs need to be strategic, insightful, creative, and highly effective problem-solvers. Sometimes “science” means processes and the suggestions of a tame problem, and “art” suggests a more creative, uncertain approach to solve complex problems.

The digital business is very complex, opportunities and risks coexist in the business ecosystem nowadays, good companies predict trends, great companies create trends. 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, proactively help the top management identify blind spots, clarify priority, and avoid pitfalls on the way of business management and drive the digital paradigm shift seamlessly.


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