5 Biases That Hold Boards Back

In today’s business world, chaos often feels like the new normal. To stay on top of it all, growth and change are not optional — they need to be the focus of an ongoing conversation for every board of directors.

Too often we see stale, stagnating biases hold boards back from taking new opportunities by the horns and turning the page. Here are 5 of those biases every board director can look for to get that conversation started.

  1. Defend & Extend Mentality. When a board focuses too closely on defending and extending the “core” business strategy of the company, the world will pass you by. While taking care of the core is always a good idea, it should be in the DNA of every board director to offer an outside perspective, be a disruptive thinker, and act as a voice for change. Think about the directors on your board — how often is someone bringing up new, disruptive ideas? How many of your conversations are anticipating where your industry will be years down the line?

  2. Traditionalism. The first time someone on your board justifies a process or an action step with “…Because we’ve always done it this way,” you can be sure that everyone needs to take a step back and reassess. While there is nothing wrong with preserving tradition or holding onto processes and rituals that work, a problem arises when the board defaults to believing that things are better because they are traditions. In a world evolving as rapidly as ours, not every tradition can endure. Is your board holding onto any traditions (like board books or committee processes) that used to work but need to be updated?

  3. Baby Boomer. This one is a media favorite that can be easy to exaggerate, but the bias here can be insidious. When boomers believe (consciously or subconsciously) that they and other Boomers know best, the board is in some trouble. Today’s boards need a diversity of opinion to thrive — and that means across gender, race, and age. Look around your board — is everyone a Baby Boomer? If so, it’s time to start the hard conversations.

  4. Technophobia. People fear technology for many reasons. Adopting new tech can be challenging, especially for those who spent the first 20 years of a career without it. It means investing time into a new system, taking many board directors out of their comfort zone at a time in their careers when they are used to being experts. Some people are (rightly) wary of ever-evolving cyber-risk. But at this point in business, avoiding tech puts any team at a gigantic disadvantage, severely limiting the options of boards who need to be agile in the face of business chaos. Tech has been the enabler of product transformation, marketing opportunities, data analysis and process innovation. An understanding of its possibilities is critical for strategic thinking. Look at how your board does business — is it utilizing tech wherever it can? Or is it resisting new tools that are revolutionizing what today’s leaders can do?

  5. Board Stagnation. Everyone wants to hold on to a good gig and do their part, but being afraid of rotating in new people and refreshing a board’s makeup is the beginning of decay. Forgetting to prioritize fresh perspectives and new blood can creep up on even the best teams. The solution is implementing a regular review process and considering term limits for board directors. Even if you’re not bringing in new board directors every year, you can bring in outside experts or coaches to stir the pot. Think about the last few years on your board — has much changed? And if not, what can you do to drive what’s next?

These are not the only biases that can drag on a board, but they are prime examples of the kind of thinking that can hold a company back. We all have things to uncover about ourselves and our teams that are hindering our business growth. The point is not to ask yourself which of these are holding your board or company back — the point is to have an ongoing conversation among your leadership about what can be done to keep everyone moving forward and not get caught in the inertia of bias.

Cloud Concinnity® is a powerful tool for transcending these biases. It is a software platform custom built for today’s connected leaders, who must facilitate the complex processes required to manage and govern today’s companies. It makes real change possible by providing a forum for important conversations. It brings together the best of process management tools, board management software, team collaboration and GRC software into one central, simple, secure hub.

In a world where chaos is the new normal, Cloud Concinnity® gives boards, c-suites, and investors the power to be as agile as they need to be. Click here to learn more about how the right tool can help your team transcend hidden bias and finally start having the important conversations.