Collaborate to advance


future-readiness executive team

Photo courtesy of Next Step
The Executive Growth Alliance allows leaders in different Global 500 companies to collaborate and solve mutual problems in addressing issues of future-readiness in their companies.

Jennifer Vessels
Next Step—Silicon Valley & Oslo, Norway

As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is part of life—those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

In today’s world of rapidly increasing customer expectations, global competition, and technology acceleration, leaders’ ability to deal with change can be the difference between future growth and disruption.

Future-readiness requires new approaches to leadership, innovation, and customer engagement to minimize disruption. However, many corporate leaders continue looking to traditional methods to innovate, address competition, transform culture, and gain customer loyalty.

These include:

1. Gaining knowledge and skills that could help deal with the future:

Through investment in leadership development programs or enrolling in executive education university courses, some companies anticipate their managers will “learn how to innovate.” While one can gain knowledge and case examples from academia, real future-readiness requires experience and application of the knowledge to real-world challenges.

2. Hearing about the future:

Many executives attend conferences to gain information and connections to share experiences as they grapple with concerns about the future. While this can provide a broad perspective of what’s possible, over 95% of the benefit is lost within one day of the conference as attendees return to work.

3. Outsourcing the future:

By engagement, a management consulting company defines an “innovation strategy.” Or to build new digital solutions, some leaders believe they have a “safe solution” to future needs. However, after a significant investment in time and money, they are often left with data, statistics, and guidance of what they should do, but are often lacking understanding and experience in how to move forward.

4. Delegation of the future: 

Many leaders see recruitment of a Chief Digital Officer, Innovation Leader, or other executive to drive change and digitalization as the solution. While having a change leader and champion for innovation can be valuable, real future-readiness starts with the executive team and must be embraced throughout the organization, not via a single department.

Each of these approaches can provide knowledge, skills, tools, and momentum to support the company’s success in the “unknown future.” However, 70%of innovation initiatives still fail. This is often due to leadership, people, or execution flaws.

There is another way. The Executive Growth Alliance accelerates future readiness for Fortune 500 companies, leaders, and communities by addressing complex global challenges across ecosystems (Transportation, Environment, Health, Industry, Consumer) through peer collaboration.

Forward-thinking leaders in Global 500 companies join the Executive Growth Alliance to enhance and extend the benefits of leadership development, conference participation, strategy development, and digital team investments.

By collaborating with peers from other multinational corporations on common challenges related to innovation, transformation, and future-ready leadership approaches, members such as Schneider Electric, Merck, Nordic Choice, BCW, and FMC have achieved tangible results including co-development of digital solutions: design to launch < than 9 months; corporate to SME joint venture collaboration; increased innovation team productivity; enhanced productivity of innovation team; streamlined customer data access; and future-ready distribution value network.

By collaborating with peer business leaders who bring diverse perspectives on specific real-world innovation and leadership challenges, Executive Growth Alliance members and their organizations achieve true Future-Readiness. Participation in the Executive Growth Alliance is by invitation only for business leaders who share a commitment to future readiness, achieving tangible results, and making a difference in the world.

Jennifer Vessels is founder & CEO of Silicon Valley-based Next Step, leader of Executive Growth Alliance, and a speaker. She can be reached by phone at (47) 902 30 982 in Oslo, (650) 218-0902 in the United States, email, or on the web at

This article originally appeared in the September 20, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

The Norwegian American

Published since May 17, 1889 PO Box 30863 Seattle WA 98113 Tel: (206) 784-4617 • Email:

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