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How Boards Can Help Amidst Technology Challenges in a Post-COVID Business Landscape?

Author: Steven Paul

According to a survey by McKinsey Global, over 800 C-level executives and senior managers admitted that the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the process of digitizing their internal operations as well as their supply chain and customer interactions at least three to four years.

Just as the pandemic put people’s lives and their livelihoods right at the center of public policy, so too have boards witnessed a shift toward a more integrated approach to corporate governance. The challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic have dramatically put into focus the need for new technology adoption in a post-COVID business landscape. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the ways in which boards can help with technology and business challenges.

Have a clear risk operating model

One of the major obstacles that organizations are faced with when it comes to the proper management of external risks is a poorly defined or ineffective risk operating model. Some of the questions to ponder over include:

  • Is our current risk reporting being reviewed properly to identify emerging and atypical risks?
  • Do we need to consider a new cadence or risk reporting to the audit committee?
  • Is technology such as AI and IoT being effectively utilized for risk management?
  • Does management re-stimulate their crisis response plans according to the latest data?
  • Is the C-suite adequately equipped to take the necessary action?


But, it’s more than just having a risk op model. It is imperative that board members and C-suite review whether the risk operating model is adequate for the purpose at hand and whether or not it is able to identify and mitigate emerging threats as they arise or devise plans for those threats that are over the horizon.

How Leadership Helps

It goes without saying that leadership is at the core of any successful business. Whether it’s encouraging the team to adapt to change or helping mitigate risks by developing risk op models, the leadership is always going to be at the center of the action. Keeping that in mind, leadership needs to be agile, influential, accountable, and driven to not only accept change as it occurs but help set the standards for the entire team to follow.

Develop the Workforce to Mitigate New Risks

Strategic management for existential threats is not just about following protocols; the board and C-suite also need to invest in the development of the workforce and the pipeline within the risk function. Only then can an organization be certain that its workforce is capable of adapting to the risks of a post-COVID business landscape, which demands capabilities that are very different from those that were needed for combating traditional business challenges. Encouraging feedback and open, two-way communication between management and staff is a great way to develop a workforce to mitigate risks. Also, apart from creating an encouraging environment based on trust and transparency, continuous learning is another important factor to help straighten the steep learning curve that may develop over time, especially when introducing new technologies to meet demands and mitigate risks.

For instance, in a post-pandemic business landscape, boards, C-suite, including the workforce, need to have a fair idea of other areas such as data and cybersecurity, sophisticated digital technologies, geopolitics, and even epidemiology to stay ahead of the curve.

Steven Paul
Author: Steven Paul