Guest AuthorKavitha Hemanath

Shadow Wisdom – From the young & bold to the old & gold

By | Kavitha Hemanath | An absolute advocate to being truly human

They say wisdom comes with age. I say how unfortunate.

Let me break that down for you – wisdom comes with age because age is a culmination of years you have lived and experiences you’ve had. So basically, wisdom comes from the amount of time you get, multiplied by the breadth and depth of experiences.

Which means the saying really should be – Wisdom comes:

  • With age, because you’ve had time on your side.
  • With experience, and the imprints it has left on you.

Now that that is settled, let me tell you why I began with this equation.

Recently I happened to read an article about ‘Shadow Boards’. A shadow board is like your board of directors, but comprising of younger blood who works closely with senior executives of the company on strategic initiatives. This board’s purpose is to give a fresh take on decisions and strategies.

What a beautiful concept! Right?

It made me wonder:

  • First, as to why it isn’t more known, why it isn’t more a norm! Why is it only now that I’ve come across this!?
  • Second, more importantly, but contradictorily, it made me wonder why the need for this arose?

As an explanation, I realized that it must have come from the common ‘perception’ that the board of directors need to have in depth experience in their field, to be an ‘EXPERT’ and thereby eligible to make broad decisions. This is why we see most boards comprising mainly of elder wise men & women.

Unfortunately, according to me, this very premise that was laid as the eligibility criteria for superior decision making is a double edged sword, hurting the organization by keeping it from opportunities to fully grow because when you don’t have diversity in thoughts and experiences, the wisdom you receive is limited. The lack of younger minds leads you to lag heavily on the different perspectives and experiences that a new-gen may provide.

This ‘EXPERIENCE’ of the young ones is different.

It is not the wisdom one accumulates from years of toiling in the industry, learning the ropes, learning what works and what doesn’t or the knowledge of what is right and what is not. It comprises instead of raw learnings that the VUCA world provides, where, to restore balance set off by the power of age, the rage of the young inevitably takes an upper hand in making/breaking the world. And that is why a ‘SHADOW BOARD’ works!!!

It helps bridge this gap. The gap between what usually works and what actually needs to work!

The need for a shadow board should be a question that all organizations ask, to rethink and reimagine their organization and the heights of their potential; with new blood, new mindset and new risk capabilities playing key roles from the forefront.

I personally would love to have a shadow board in my organization.

What I’d love even more is a board that does not need to hide its brightest young minds, for the young minds not to be shadowed, but have the spotlight on them.

If you have a shadow board in your organization or are a part of one, let me know!

Republished with permission and originally published at Kavitha Hemanath‘s Linkedin

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