Boardroom Digital Literacy: R U Talking to Me?

[This article was contributed by Fay Feeney, CEO of Risk for Good]

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?

No need for board activists to add to the conversation from the outside about boardroom happenings. Now we hear directly from the CEO. When Yahoo fired their CEO Carol Bartz, she shared the inside scoop using her iPad. 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—-d 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?

This article is the first in a series contributed by Fay Feeney, CEO of Risk for Good. Risk for Good helps board chairs and lead directors navigate the disruption to their business from a social, mobile and global world.

Today’s minefields can cost your company: time, money and goodwill. Risk for Good works with your board to evaluate your exposure and leverage the opportunity from: social media, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, board composition, succession and the multitude of other areas where your board needs to manage emerging risk.

Modern boardrooms address these questions before others demand a “comply or explain” response. We use the quiet in our client’s boardroom to prepare thoughtful answers to today’s tough business questions.

If you are interested in contacting Ms. Feeney, you may do so through this blog or the Risk for Good website.