Thursday, July 29, 2021

Corporate Board with Philosophy

Corporate board directors are wise advisors and top leadership roles who need to shape their philosophical perspectives all the time and share their vision and insight consistently.

The very characteristics of business new normal are nonlinearity, adaptability, unrepeatability, unpredictability, and denial of control. The corporate board as one of the most crucial governance bodies in the modern enterprise is less about control, more about steering the organization in the right path by providing strategic oversight, setting philosophical principles to encourage desired corporate attitude & behavior, monitoring performance and handling risks effectively.

Practicing “governance” as a philosophy for “the love of wisdom”: Philosophy is a Greek portmanteau of the love of wisdom. Plato used the term governance in a metaphorical sense to lead or rule strategically. The organizational environment today is constantly changing and forcing the business to “adjust” accordingly. Leadership is the adventure to explore the unknown, and have confidence and insight to navigate the business on the right path.

A philosophy will embed when great leaders understand themselves and have the empathy to gain an understanding of others, they have a story to tell. Corporate board directors as the senior leadership role today need to leverage their philosophical insight, to look ahead and imagine what is possible for their organizations. It is in the best interest of corporate boards and shareholders to have the moral and natural purpose of governance consists of assuring, on behalf of those governed, a worthy pattern of good while avoiding an undesirable pattern of bad, for steering their organization in the right direction.

Applying “Holding Accountability” in Agile philosophy: Agile is more a "direction," than an "end" philosophy and mindset at the board level. In real life, responsible people make mistakes or have invalid notions, many times driven by emotions rather than philosophical logic. Corporate boards 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. And hold their management team accountable to execute strategy. It is not uncommon to confuse accountability with blame. They are actually opposites. In the boardroom, true accountability focuses on learning as a core value in building an agile culture.

Agilists BoDs are phenomenally disciplined in focusing on value, prioritizing, executing, and collaboration. “You will be held accountable" is on the face of it, not a bad thing, the management has the freedom to do whatever needs to be done, and take the responsibility to ensure they do their best to bring about a good outcome. The larger the organization, the greater the distance between the top management and the frontline staff, and the more opportunity for the executives to feel the loss of control. Management at different layers of the organization needs to be fully engaged in agile philosophy: be comfortable with empowering teams to own the delivery of the work.

Following “simplexity” principles are in the realm of System philosophy: The digital ecosystem is complex, it becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of nonlinear interaction, you can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. It's important for BoDs to leverage System principles for understanding the interconnectivity and interdependence of the business, work closely with the management to outline the strategic intent and advocate “simplexity” principle to handle complex issues effectively in the realm of system philosophy - seeing the trees without missing the forest.

The corporate board proactively leverages its members as a diverse, high-performing team capable of providing global insights for forward-looking decision-making. Governance as a discipline is a living breathing entity. Don’t just see governance as constraints, but rather an opportunity. Corporate directors apply systems philosophy to understanding the business dynamics, work toward some common purpose or goal of the business system or subsystem, often including the continuing viability and renewal of that system. They encourage the management to step out of the daily busyness or step back from complexity, and appreciate many ingredients of simplicity such as manageability, robustness, comprehensiveness, clarity, or usability, etc.

Corporate board directors are wise advisors and top leadership roles who need to shape their philosophical perspectives all the time and share their vision and insight consistently. They 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. Allow the difference to exist and leverage on the difference. From the board composition perspective, the board is responsible for ensuring an appropriate mix of cognitive abilities, skills, knowledge, and experience are present or available for it to fulfill its judiciary function effortlessly.


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