How the Board of the Future Will Function

OnBoard Chief Marketing Officer Rob Kunzler kicked off the first Atlas Webinar with a jarring, but accurate message: “The function of boards has changed more in the last three years than any 18-year period in history.”

While that might be difficult to quantify, it’s certain that a global pandemic, cybersecurity threats, ongoing digital transformation, a volatile economy, and ongoing pushes for diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI); environmental, social and governance issues (ESG), and social justice concerns have all conspired to make boards rethink old-fashioned approaches.

“The power of digital is just starting to be harnessed,” says Paroon Chadha, OnBoard Chief Executive Officer. “I am bullish on technology. I’ve worked with plenty of board members who have needed a little help on the tech side. Work with providers, work with the board members and help them get over the hump. When it’s well-made, technology really is much simpler. When technology is poorly made, that’s when these challenges get amplified.”

Where are boards now?

The pandemic, preexisting digital transformation, and other factors listed above have led to a new normal. Boardrooms are no exception.

A few observations Chadha and Kunzler shared to illustrate that include:

  • The best board meetings obsessively bias the agenda toward action.
  • Exceptional virtual board engagement can be achieved by thoughtfully digitizing all board meeting aspects
  • Digitally native boards are intentional about hybrid meetings, and actively prevent “digital dissing.”
  • The lack of a physical third dimension can kill a board’s spirit; the best foster collaboration with technology, conversation, and engagement.

“My personal preference is to have an all-digital meeting or an all-in-person meeting,” Chadha says. Kunzler agrees, adding, “It’s tough to have eight people in a room and four people on Zoom.”

Among webinar participants, 55% said they conduct their board meetings digitally, while just 16% meet in-person. The remaining respondents (28%) said they meet in a hybrid format.

No matter where boards meet, board management software demand continues to grow. “We were broadly forced to move into a digital environment in April 2020,” Kunzler says. “Even as some boards have returned to in-person meetings, we have not seen a drop-off in the utilization of the technology.” – Read more

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