Transformation: The Board's Missing Agenda Item

Yet another corporate collapse brings into sharp relief an issue which seems to be missing from the agenda in Boardrooms around Australia: Stewardship of Transformation.

Disruptive consumer and competitive trends are not new and yet many fail to respond. I wonder then, how active this discussion is in the Boardroom?  In my view there is a clear imperative to “re-tool” our organisations for the business models of the future. It is fundamental to the sustainability of our organisations and to our duty as Directors.

 there is a clear imperative to “re-tool” our organisations

But what to do about it... I’d like to offer my own perspectives and “questions for the Board” as follows:

  1. Board Composition: is there sufficient cognitive diversity on the Board? Are there skills & experience in innovation and new business models (not just IT)?

  2. Market Sensing: Is the voice of the customer present at Board meetings (beyond NPS and satisfaction surveys). How are we detecting, reporting and responding to emerging trends?

  3. Strategy Development: How are we leading or responding to disruption? Are we looking at ways to disrupt ourselves? Are we planning for transformation or resting on the laurels of past success?

  4. Resource Allocation: Have we provided the means to foster innovation & experimentation? Have we invested sufficiently in our future selves? 

In my view, the transformation imperative is clear and so to is the Board’s responsibility for the stewardship of that transformation. The challenge is that the skills to transform don’t reside in the traditional roles of marketing, HR or IT.  Instead, new disciplines such as human centred design, lean and design thinking have emerged to confront this challenge; but few organisations have them and they certainly aren’t represented in the Boardroom. 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-18/menswear-chain-roger-david-enters-administration-jobs-at-risk/10390760