Saturday, October 15, 2022


Good governance is less about structures and rules, but more about being focused, effective and accountable.

Nowadays, the organizations are always on, interdependent, and hyper-connected, the corporate board's role is to pull management out of the trees to see the forest. 

An insightful corporate board gives the optimum experience and sound advice/ judgment to the senior executive teams of the company for improving decision coherence, management robustness and problem-solving effectiveness.

Innovative BoDs have fresh eyes and outlier’s mindset to see things differently: The BoDs as one of the most critical governance bodies of the company take responsibility for steering the organization forward with clarified vision and setting guidance for creative problem-solving. Further-looking corporate board directors are both creative and critical thinkers who live out of the box, discover nonlinear patterns, see things further or deeper, and be creatively disruptive. They ask open questions to collect relevant information, continue questioning on important issues where the management's answers do not make sense, show constructive skepticism for brainstorming changes and advocating innovation, look for a new perspective or alternative solutions to tough problems.

The digital era upon us is the age of innovation, and innovation is an important business capability to decide the business's long-term prosperity. The benefits of adding that "fresh eye" or “inquisitive mind” will become more apparent. Outlier board leaders today are the one who can step out of a conventional thinking box, scrutinize the innovation strategy of the company. It is one of the requirements of the corporate board members to participate, or even lead, in constantly suggesting areas of innovation; rejuvenate boardrooms via participating in both innovation management and management innovation, and improve organizational innovation excellence.

Insightful BoDs with interdisciplinary expertise can think from a system level perspective, have critical eyes to scrutinize business and monitor performance:
Corporate board directors are the directorship and leadership role, to help the organization explore the unknown, have confidence and insight to take the right path for reaching the destination. The specialized generalists are the better fitting digital BoDs. Insightful BoDs have a pair of critical eyes to check up business assets, relationships, and the organization’s business design, structures, and capabilities. They can provide the oversight of matching business priorities and resources to ensure that management can see and agree on what has been done and what should be done next, and hold the management accountable to reaching higher than expected performance.

In order to deal with “VUCA” reality, strategy management is not a linear step, but a dynamic discipline which requires the corporate board’s continuous attention. The boundary of knowledge domains is blurred and the scope of knowledge is expanded in the continual base. The corporate board provides an “outside-in” view of businesses and multi-dimensional lenses to oversee strategy management and digital transformation, align key organization’s resources, which typically include financial, human, intellectual assets effectively, gauge business conditions and choices which impact the business growth and competency; provide an insightful outlook about what the future of the digital organization should be and what are existing problems and challenges.

Inspirational BoDs usually need to “finger out,” but to “spirit up”
: Good directorship is about creating the greatest value to inspire progressive changes, motivate top leadership and people development. Corporate board directors can contribute to talent development by setting good policies to encourage desired changes. The corporate board plays a crucial role in identifying talent gaps, and being aware of talent management related risks such as capability risks, capacity risks, cost risks, reputation, and regulatory risks, etc.

BoDs oversee the workforce planning and development strategies to ensure their workforce is highly engaged, innovative, and transformative, to unleash collective potential. A solid people development strategy needs to be well-defined based on the business’s long-term perspective well mixing with short-term needs. Engaging, motivating, or innovating' are cultural issues, which are embedded in the processes, policies, procedures, and practices of the organization. The corporate board will help to set the principles, innovate talent management, and be accountable for designing and sustaining the proper culture for the organization to prosper.

 It needs to be remembered that governance as a discipline is a living breathing thing which continually requires stroking and attention. Good governance is less about structures and rules, more about being focused, effective and accountable. The ability of boards to oversee and advise management as an insightful guardian is to ensure the best fit between current state and future state of the business; the short term profitability and long-term sustainability. Every decision requires a different way of thinking. The best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup and culture, as well as which gap needs to be filled. The BoD with fitting minds and fresh eyes can work with management to drive changes, harness innovation and improve business agility and maturity.


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