In an era of soft skills, it is legitimate to question the future of boards of directors. Boards have bylaws and legal duties which can’t be disregarded. However, considering the new challenges they are currently facing, boards will have to recalibrate their approach.
One main consequence of our globalised economy is interdependence, and this asset becomes a liability whenever power and control are dispersed. Digitalisation of several processes allows board members to overcome such inconveniences. In this sense, it is a game changer and we all had the opportunity to witness it during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s why we must look at the stakes and challenges not only as board members but also as customers and individuals. Therefore, we can pinpoint three main tendencies:
- A more continuous assessment and engagement of the board
- Operational presence and diversification of board member profiles
- Growing tendency to challenge standards and status quo
Board members are in a position where they have a less ad hoc impact on the company. In fact, digitalisation allows boards to have remote and real-time access to pertinent information. Thus, in addition to being more informed, they are also more implicated in the operational aspects of the strategy. To remain relevant, companies must question their own model and structure, including their market, business model, value equation etc. It must be regularly adapted by innovating throughout the value chain, and the board of directors is an essential link.
Regarding the missions of board members and how they’re expected to evolve, we could conclude that, generally speaking, boards could be improved. Their impact on markets, competition, business models and leadership is colossal, but their alignment with digital tools is still insufficient to prosper. The board’s role is to define the company's mission and to take responsibility for its strategic vision. The pace of innovations and transformations is rather exponential and appeals a more immersive consideration of digital tools, especially for stakeholders.
In other words, in a globalised ecosystem, not everyone will be a thought-leader, but welcoming change is a crucial characteristic for every board member to have. Boards hold a position where information is the root of their mission. Having access to real-time, key information is an unprecedented luxury that can now be leveraged with board portal software and other digital tools.
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