As the world continues to become increasingly complex, organisations are required to navigate ever-changing social attitudes, demographic shifts and technological disruptions. Great organisations not only understand these trends but respond to them.
The role of a board is ultimately to provide good governance of an organisation. At their worst, boards can be perceived to be disconnected and can stifle the progress of passionate organisational cultures. At their best, boards look ahead and keep their finger on the pulse of the big changes happening in their external environment. Operating at a more birds’ eye view of the organisation, boards play an important role in helping to guide the strategic direction of an organisation and then report on how the organisation is tracking against that.
Improving diversity across boards
There has been a lot of discussion in recent times regarding improving the diversity across boards, particularly improving gender, age and cultural diversity. Because the world is increasingly complex and diverse, that means an organisation’s stakeholders are also more diverse. It is important to understand and ensure the diversity of stakeholders are considered in strategic decisions otherwise organisations run the risk of getting left behind. Boards need a range of experiences and subject matter experts, but mainly boards need to be good at listening broadly, considering different trends, and then acting decisively. Generational diversity can help in all these areas. If boards can leverage the power of diversity, it can help when it comes to the work of the board – future planning and big picture management.
How research and advisory helps boards at a strategic level
One of the challenges of the modern board is that organisations are operating in a multifactorial society, where trends are accelerating and expanding. There is a lot of change and that can feel overwhelming. The role of a board is to try to sift through this change to find what is important to focus on. Research can be used to understand both the broader trends at play as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of staff and stakeholders. The insights gleamed from understanding the external and internal environment is a powerful for boards to have at their disposal, enabling them to make important and strategic decisions in changing times.