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Building Better Leaders

The Leading for the Future Conference was launched in 2020 to help corporate decision makers. Ms Turid Elisabeth Solvang developing new mindset help us build leadership.The Leading for the Future Conference was launched in 2020 to help corporate decision makers.

The conference is aimed at creating a platform to better understand the roles, skills, and mindset leaders require. The Leading for the Future Conference seeks to facilitate a space for dialogue that is non-confrontational since no one has all the answers. According to Ms Turid Elisabeth Solvang, Founder & CEO FutureBoards, understanding that and being open to new mindsets is vital for leadership. “It is important to be open to new perspectives. Sometimes you need to change your thinking. The picture is shifting. It is no longer all about shareholders. Now leaders must focus on stakeholders,” she stated. “Of course, it is okay for leaders to say they do not have all the answers, even if this is difficult to admit. Honesty is key. Sometimes you need to change your mind.”

That is one of the driving forces behind the theme of this year’s conference: Between a Rock and a Hard Place. With companies facing difficult and complex issues, such as climate change, COVID-19, and geopolitical conflict, having the correct systems and mindset in place has become increasingly important. “We want to do good things, but sometimes that is really hard. The situation Telenor faced in Myanmar is an example of this,” Ms Solvang noted. “The Leading for the Future Conference looks to create a dialogue. It is about understanding of what is happening when difficult decisions need to be made and making sure the right systems are in place.” These constructive conversations about what can be done when things get tough serve as an important foundation when it comes time to make difficult decisions.

“My hope is that after the Leading for the Future Conference, attendees leave with a perspective on what defines the people making the decisions. You never know if it is the right or wrong decision being made in the moment, but having leaders with the right mindset helps,” Ms Solvang said.

Open The Boardroom

When it comes to decision making, and especially ones made in difficult times, a lot of focus is placed on those leaders at the C-level as well as top managers. Ms Solvang believes it is time to look into the boardroom since that is where final decisions take place. “Board members are not always visible. We need to know what kind of values they possess. How do they come to their decisions? What are their focus areas? When you see the board in the news, it’s usually when there is a conflict with management,” Ms Solvang pointed out. “However, we should know what they stand for and why since it is a position of trust.”

That is especially true today in a world that is moving faster than ever. Boards that are not keeping up with global events, the company’s environment, and the power of stakeholders can find themselves at real risk. “There is no room for error anymore. That is a game-changer. Access to information is instantaneous and no longer bound by borders. There is no time to reflect or hide. Decision makers must have systems in place to think about the future and be prepared to act quickly,” Ms Solvang stated.

This is where the Leading for the Future Conference can be of use. Bringing together different mindsets and perspectives in a constructive setting allows for discussions that may one day lead to a leadership paradigm shift. “With Norway having been the first country to implement corporate board gender quotas, we have a unique perspective. But we also need to accept that we don’t have all the answers,” Ms Solvang noted. “It is important to see what works elsewhere. By speaking to each other and understanding these different approaches, we can create better systems for decision making.”

Organised by FutureBoards and Aftenposten and with the Financial Times as media partner, this year’s Leading for the Future Conference is scheduled to have several notable speakers including Mr Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum; Mr Remi Eriksen, DNV Group President and CEO; Ms Vicky Bowman, Director Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business; and Ms Solvang. The 2022 edition will look to further discussions launched over the past two years.

“One of the key takeaways from our previous conferences is that there is now a larger interest in what’s going on in the boardroom. There is a greater reflection about who should be serving on boards,” Ms Solvang reported. “These conversations and questions are hopefully ones attendees can have at their own companies.”

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