Boardroom Digital Literacy – R U Talking to Me?

Boardroom protocol is being exposed every day on the internet.  Does Rupert Murdoch really think we can’t see beyond his prepared remarks to determine for ourselves the “tone at the top” coming from his boardroom?

This past week we heard from fired Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.  No need for board activists to add to the conversation from the outside.  We now are getting the inside scoop when we learned of her accusing Chairman Roy Bostock, of board mistreatment.  In the same Fortune interview, she called her fellow directors “doofuses” and said they “f—ed me over.”

It may be surprising to see the boardroom portrayed like this in mainstream media, but imagine what happens when 100 million people on Twitter can now get involved in the conversation.

I know that many people in the boardroom are still on the sidelines about social media.  What will it take to get your board ready to tackle their willingness to learn what is happening on the internet?  Will it take seeing your company’s name in the news before you add digital literacy to your director’s education?  I can see the incredulous look on the directors’ faces when the board is called on for their oversight of digital issues.

I can only imagine a board being characterized as:

 “illiterate”: showing or marked by a lack of personal knowledge with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge.

Or maybe a board will be portrayed as “ignorant”: Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: “ignorant of social media”.

Worse yet is as a board leader to know that it is true.  So I ask, when are you planning to get digital and social media on your agenda?  Who is going to be responsible for taking action to get it on your fall board agenda?  Whatever title you have in the boardroom (board chair or lead directors), you are setting the boardroom agenda.  Are you waiting for your CEO, Corporate Secretary, Corporate Counsel, Audit Committee Chair to bring resources and spend budget to get this to happen for you and your board?

Time to learn where your customers spend their time

Social media accounts for 22.5 percent of the time that Americans spend online, according to “State of the Media: The Social Media Report.”  This is compared with 9.8 percent for online games and 7.6 percent for e-mail.  You can read more in the NY Times.

This is a voluntary opportunity for you to keep your board current and relevant.  If you’re waiting for a regulatory push to get your boardroom thinking digitally, you may not be ready to take action and learn what is happening 24/7 on computers and mobile devices around the world.

Here are some statistics about digital connectivity to help you consider moving this up as a priority.  Digital knowledge leads to opportunities for companies to grow, reach and help their customers, employees, investors and stakeholders.  Are your business revenues connected to connectivity in Asia?  Has digital connectivity impacted new patterns in:

  • Consumer and supply chain behavior?
  • Operating model innovations?
  • Security and transparency issues?

Connectivity in Asia:

Growth in mobile Internet usage is outpacing them all:

  • 45% of metro Chinese are online via a mobile device at least monthly, up 21% from 2010
  • 11% of metro Indians access the mobile net monthly, up from just 1% in 2010.
  • Japan saw the biggest jump in mobile Internet usage: 57% of adults now have access, up 24% from last year. [Read more…]