At Next we accelerate the Smart Growth of your Enterprise.
For 20 years, we've supported outstanding enterprises in North America.
We support our clients to:
Co-create their preferred future.
Align senior leaders and teams around those futures.
Build leadership capacity so teams can execute on the preferred future.
Develop and articulate a story strong enough to shift culture, inspire and grow their people, and enable the enterprise to attract new clients, investment, and energy.
At Next, our thought leaders and subject matter experts have built or led companies themselves and bring considerable experience to bear on growing your organization. We work with you to renew and revitalize your enterprise, develop more human-centred workplaces, and sustainable and ethical business practices, and focus on serving the greater good.
After a decade of working with 30 organizations in 21 sectors with more than 40,000 hours in organizations ranging from 100 to 30,000 employees, we engaged in an intensive, applied research study of the organizations that Next engaged in for more than 2 years. We focused on what the outliers did. What did the most consistently successful organizations do to maintain their lead and what did failing organizations do to lose momentum?
The key features of Smart GrowthTM emerged based on the organizations that were continually leading in their field. These organizations were crystal clear on how they were going to scale and grow their enterprise. Their most senior leaders were aligned on this growth strategy. They were committed to finding the right talent and developing leaders at all levels. They were clear and articulate on how they were going to achieve that growth.
The Smart Growth AlgorithmTM
At Next we view leadership from two perspectives. The first is Leading the Enterprise, which is why we developed the Intelligent Enterprise framework. The second is Leading IN the Enterprise which focuses on the individual leader's capacity to lead.
From an organizational perspective, an Intelligent Enterprise will outperform all others; crafting the right talent and evolving with intention through three levels of Building Foundation, Breaking Away and Leading the Field.
Building Foundation is a place of purposeful leader development. As leadership fundamentals take shape, through development and deliberate practice, individual leaders become impactful. Teams of leaders become confident and more productive. The enterprise experiences new momentum and escalating results. The focus for leaders is to co-create preferred futures for the teams they lead and for the enterprise. They are skilled at coaching and giving and receiving feedback. They are comfortable with difficult conversations. Strong cultures of accountability are carefully created. These leaders also create the conditions for dialogue that brings clarity to the intentions and aspirations of the enterprise.
Breaking Away is where cohesive leadership teams begin moving the enterprise toward the exceptional. The focus is on effective collaboration and comfort in leading innovation. This requires a higher order of thinking, doing, and being from leaders; seeded by the development of new leadership skills and enterprise practices. Success relies on a strong process, systematically and consistently applied, and on leaders skilled in the fundamentals.
Leading the Field is where creativity has become a lead attribute of the organization. The enterprise is not trapped by size, structure, or success—it has found a way to become adaptive and stay nimble.
In an evolutionary sense, the enterprise has moved from reactive to adaptive. This is a significant long-term shift, incorporating many iterations of the business model along the way. Agility and adaptive capacity to better navigate complexity is the goal.
The Essential Elements of Leadership ©
We believe the practice of effective leadership can be taught. In order to do so, we must identify what great leadership looks like. The Essential Elements of Leadership© provides a roadmap for individual leaders to develop and advance their personal practice of leadership.
The Essential Elements of Leadership© originated in 2005 and has been refined over the years through exhaustive applied research, observation and documented evidence of more than 4800 leaders. Originally, there were twelve Essential Elements of Leadership©. After ten years, 40,000 hours, with thirty organizations in twenty-one sectors, each with 100 to 30,000 employees, our observation of changes in the leadership landscape required expanding the elements in 2015.
Leadership is contextual. What constitutes a leader’s success in one enterprise may not ensure their success in another. However, there is a direct correlation between strong and effective leadership and organizational results.
If you can’t describe what great leadership looks like, you can’t build it. The Essential Elements of Leadership© is how we, at The Next Institute, define an individual’s leadership in an organizational context.
All our work is led by our core team. Over the years, we have attracted, vetted, and curated a wide range of top industry talent. Our learning leaders have first-hand experience with best practices. We use feedback and coaching to continuously develop ourselves. All team members bring extensive experience in business or creative fields, excellence in adult learning and development, and the x-factor essential to those who seek to affect change in others. Through thoughtful and collaborative design with our clients, our skilled team of facilitators brings the kind of learning that translates to results.
For an introduction, see Our Team
We work with Senior Teams – Consulting
This is usually 8 to 12 executives, offsite for 1-2 days, directly focused on the business and its needs (creating a new preferred future, aligning the resources required to make that future real, and making decisions collectively). This is outside the day-to-day, working "on" the business rather than "in" the business. Sometimes the biggest need is simply quality time to have deep and skillful conversations to align teams around issues critical to the business.
A collaborative and co-created consulting approach to session design is informed by our individual participant research. During the session we shift in real time, responsive to what happens and what needs to happen. We facilitate dialogue, ask difficult questions, push the conversation, and upload tools where needed. We lead in two-person teams, and we are not passive facilitators. Where appropriate, we bring our experience forward, share leading practices, offer strategic advice, and collaborate in practical solution design.
The most successful senior teams have made this a habit. It is part of the business cycle and a leadership routine, meeting two or three times a year in facilitated collaboration. The process is dynamic, intensive, and rich with breakthroughs.
From this work, we develop and translate the organizations’ strategy into one page for clarity and ease of translation in order to generate results.
We work with Key Leaders – Programs
This is commonly 20 to 35 leaders from various points in the enterprise offsite for a two-day learning experience. It may be one-time, or the cohort may participate in a series of three or four leader development experiences over the course of a year. The content is designed in collaboration with the HR team, based on our enterprise research and focused on “What is it time for?”.
The learning is led in two-person teams. All our work is PowerPoint-free and binder-free. The learning is experiential: participants will demo, practice, reflect, sense-make, and action plan. The learning is interactive and applied: new leadership tools are demonstrated using real-life examples and current business issues. Peer learning is crucial, we believe much of the knowledge leaders hold is resident within the network in which they operate. The use of dyads, triads, and small group interactions is designed into the flow. Creative processes, improv, physical movement, and contemplative practice are used to create memorable experiences and develop whole-brain leaders.
Learning experiences are rich in skill development and designed for behavioural change. Leaders take new tools to work the next day. The cohort learning group becomes a strong alliance, particularly over a series of learning experiences, becoming beacons and champions of change.
We conduct Executive Coaching – 1-on-1 Leader Development
This is with a Senior leader (or a high-potential) in strategic dialogue with one of our team. The conversation can be an hour per day continuing at regular intervals. Occasionally the work is 2-on-1: two coaches working with one leader, or with two leaders whose relationship needs focused attention. We work in person, by phone, and/or during a team session. We coach as part of a larger engagement with an enterprise.
We come to understand a lot about what is and isn’t going well in an organization. That inside knowledge is invaluable. We see a leader in action with peers and direct reports. Feedback and assessment tools are used to clarify strengths and development needs. Sometimes the leader is underperforming and will improve or decide it is best to leave. Other times the leader is preparing for succession, at a leverage point in the enterprise, or struggling to align with a team or strategy.
Preparing leaders for executive and C-Suite leadership is a consideration for one-on-one work. This gives the individuals a smoother on-ramp into the role and can enhance their speed to contribution.
Our executive coaches are seasoned leaders themselves. The methodology is more than appreciative inquiry – we apply leadership and business experience, tell the truth, problem-solve, connect the dots, and break up logjams. The work raises individual leadership capability, driving business results and the greater good of the enterprise.