How Future-Ready CEOs and Dynamic Boards Can Lead the Way and Thrive amid Disruption

In an era where the only constant is change, companies must be resilient and future-ready to succeed. Technological advancements, socio-economic shifts, and environmental challenges are constantly reshaping the corporate world, making effective leadership more critical than ever. This post dives into the five pivotal leadership traits of future-ready CEOs as identified by BCG and blends them with the Dynamic Board Capabilities framework developed by Digoshen, INSEAD, and KTH. Together, these insights offer a roadmap for building a resilient and forward-looking organization. We also explore findings from a recent report by The Conference Board and PwC, highlighting the evolving expectations top executives have for their boards, especially regarding  AI, Sustainability, and Cyber Resilience.

Five Critical Leadership Traits of Future-Ready CEOs
by BCG

  1. Decisive and Unsentimental: Essential for managing the corporate portfolio by making tough decisions without being influenced by past sentiments.
  2. Experimental and Ambitious: Vital for driving innovation, supply chains, sustainability, and technology, pushing the boundaries to create value.
  3. Prudent: Necessary for managing capital and liquidity, ensuring financial stability and preparedness for economic fluctuations.
  4. Patient: Important for managing talent, focusing on long-term development and retention strategies.
  5. Persistent: Crucial across all business domains to overcome obstacles and maintain a steady course toward strategic goals.


Dynamic Board Capabilities
by Digoshen, INSEAD, and KTH

  1. Sensing: Developing insights into the company’s environment, both internally and externally, independently and in collaboration with management and partners.
  2. Pivoting: Transforming insights into new strategies or strategic innovations, exploring pathways for value creation.
  3. Aligning: Ensuring that resources and decisions are aligned with the new strategy, encompassing mission, resources, processes, structure, and culture.


Need for better guidance in Digital, GenAI, Sustainability and Cyber Resilience

by Conference Board and PwC

A recent report by The Conference Board and PwC reveals that 600 top executives desire their boards to move beyond traditional roles and expertise. With a keen awareness of shifting pressures and changes to the landscape, and an urgency to adapt or get left behind, executives are hoping their boards can offer greater guidance, leadership, and knowledge in emerging areas such as digital, GenAI, environmental sustainability, and cyber resilience, according to the report “The Boardroom Mosaic: Piecing Together the Future,” April 2024.

Evolving Lines of Responsibility Between the Board and Management by Deloitte and the Society for Corporate Governance

As the business environment continues to evolve in complexity, the oversight role of boards is also changing. Investor, regulator, and other stakeholder expectations of board involvement in certain aspects of the business, traditionally within management’s sole purview, are increasing. Effective oversight relies on maintaining clear lines of responsibility between the board and management. Boards must adapt to these evolving expectations to ensure effective governance and avoid conflicts of interest.


Boards’ integrating Leadership, AI and Sustainability for Value Creation 

Sensing and Experimental and Ambitious Leadership

Boards must develop strong sensing capabilities to complement the experimental and ambitious nature of effective CEOs. This involves gathering comprehensive data and insights from various sources to inform innovative strategies. AI technologies can enhance the board’s ability to gather and analyze vast amounts of data, providing deeper insights into market trends, customer behavior, and emerging threats. This enables boards to make more informed decisions and support CEOs in developing innovative strategies. However, a recent report highlights that many top executives feel their boards lack sufficient knowledge in AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience, and there is a pressing need for better guidance and education in these areas.

Impact of Sustainability: Boards need to monitor sustainability trends and regulations proactively. Sustainability considerations should be integrated into sensing activities to identify new Opportunities and Risks associated with environmental and social factors. Boards must become more knowledgeable in sustainability to guide effective strategies.

Impact of AI: Incorporating AI into board practices can significantly improve the accuracy and efficiency of sensing activities, enabling more effective pivoting and strategic innovation. Boards need to be educated on AI to harness its full potential.

Impact of Cyber Resilience: Boards should ensure comprehensive cyber resilience by understanding the latest cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices. This includes integrating cybersecurity into overall strategy and ensuring continuous monitoring and assessment of cyber risks.

Conclusion: Boards should enhance their sensing capabilities to support and validate the experimental and ambitious initiatives led by CEOs, ensuring that innovation is both bold and feasible. They must also seek to educate themselves on AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience to provide better guidance and leadership.

Pivoting and Decisive Leadership

Effective pivoting requires a decisive and unsentimental approach to portfolio management. Boards must guide strategic shifts by evaluating the risks and opportunities presented by new insights and ensuring that these are incorporated into the company’s strategy. AI plays a crucial role in proactively exploring the risks associated with new strategies and facilitating the generation and validation of new ideas and innovation areas.

Impact of Sustainability: Sustainability must be a key consideration during strategic pivots. Boards and CEOs should evaluate how shifts in strategy align with long-term environmental and social goals, ensuring that new directions support sustainable business practices. This requires boards to deepen their knowledge in sustainability.

Impact of AI: AI can enhance the board’s capability to explore and validate new strategic directions, analyze extensive datasets, and simulate potential outcomes. Boards need to understand AI to effectively incorporate it into strategic decisions.

– Impact of Cyber Resilience: Boards must incorporate cyber resilience into their strategic pivoting to protect against and respond to cyber threats effectively. This includes regular reviews of cybersecurity policies, incident response plans, and employee training programs.

Conclusion: Boards should collaborate closely with CEOs to pivot effectively, leveraging the CEO’s decisiveness to implement necessary strategic shifts while providing oversight and ensuring alignment with long-term goals. Boards need to enhance their understanding of AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience to make informed decisions.

Aligning and Prudent, Patient, and Persistent Leadership

Aligning resources and processes with new strategic directions requires prudence, patience, and persistence. Boards play a crucial role in ensuring that the company’s resource allocation, talent management, and operational processes are realigned to support the new strategy.

Impact of Sustainability: Prioritizing sustainability in aligning efforts ensures that the company’s strategies are not only economically viable but also environmentally and socially responsible. ESG considerations should be embedded into the company’s culture, processes, and performance metrics. Boards must educate themselves on sustainability issues to align strategies effectively.

Impact of AI: AI can facilitate more efficient resource allocation, track progress against strategic goals, and identify areas requiring adjustment. AI tools can also help in real-time monitoring and reporting of alignment efforts. Boards need to be knowledgeable about AI tools to leverage them effectively.

Impact of Cyber Resilience: Boards should ensure that cyber resilience is embedded in the company’s culture and operations. This includes integrating cybersecurity best practices into all aspects of the business and ensuring continuous improvement through regular reviews and updates.

Conclusion: Boards should work with CEOs to ensure that alignment efforts are thorough and ongoing, leveraging the CEO’s prudence, patience, and persistence to maintain stability and continuous improvement during transitions. Boards need to improve their understanding of AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience to guide these efforts effectively.


Value Creation Focus Areas for Boards and CEOs

  1. Strategic Vision: Both boards and CEOs must maintain a clear, shared vision of the company’s long-term goals, ensuring that sensing, pivoting, and aligning activities support this vision.
  2. Risk Management: Boards must work with CEOs to evaluate and manage risks associated with strategic pivots, ensuring that the company remains resilient and adaptable. This includes addressing evolving risks as ethical and sustainability challenges and bolstering cyber resilience to safeguard against evolving threats.
  3. Innovation Oversight: Boards should support CEOs in fostering a culture of innovation, ensuring that experimental initiatives are well-governed and aligned with strategic objectives.
  4. Talent Management: Both parties must focus on recruiting, retaining, training and developing talent (including themselves) that aligns with the company’s evolving needs, leveraging patience and persistence to build a strong workforce.
  5. Financial Prudence: Ensuring sufficient liquidity and a solid capital base is crucial, requiring close collaboration between boards and CEOs to manage financial resources prudently.


Conclusion – the future is your to shape

Effective collaboration between boards and CEOs hinges on a mutual understanding and execution of dynamic capabilities and critical leadership traits to create value. Boards must develop and exercise their sensing, pivoting, and aligning capabilities to support and challenge CEOs effectively. This collaboration ensures that the company can navigate complex environments, drive innovation, and achieve sustainable growth.

By integrating these frameworks and incorporating the impacts of AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience, boards and CEOs can create a robust governance and leadership structure capable of adapting to rapid changes and achieving long-term success. Boards must also strive to enhance their knowledge and expertise in AI, sustainability, and cyber resilience to provide the necessary guidance and leadership in these critical areas.




– “What it takes to build a future-ready company”by BCG in Fortune

For CEOs The Future is a State of Mind by BCG

– “Board Dynamic Capabilities” by Digoshen, INSEAD, and KTH

– “The boardroom mosaic: Piecing together the future” by The Conference Board and PwC

– “AI in the Era of ESG: Nine Steps Boards Can Take Now” from The Conference Board

– “Board Practices Quarterly: Evolving Lines of Responsibility Between the Board and Management” by Deloitte and Society for Corporate Governance



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About this Blogpost

This blogpost is originally shared at Boards Impact Forum –, and additionally shared at the blog of Digoshen,, and on the blog of the Boards Impact Forum Chair and Digoshen founder .

About Digoshen

This blog post was originally shared at the blog of Digoshen,  and the blog of the Digoshen founder

At Digoshen, we work hard to increase #futureinsights and help remove #digitalblindspots and #sustainabilityblindspots. We believe that Companies, Boards, and Business Leadership Teams need to understand more about the future and the digital & sustainable world to fully leverage the potential when bringing their business into the digital & more sustainable age. If you are a board member, consider joining our international board network and master programs.

Welcome to also explore the Digoshen Chatbot on AI Leadership for Boards and Boards Impact Forum, where the Digoshen Founder is the Chair.

Find a link to Digoshen Chair Liselotte Engstam Google Scholar Page

You will find more insights via Digoshen Website, and you are welcome to follow us on LinkedIn Digoshen @ Linkedin  and twitter: @digoshen  and founder @liseeng