#19 Aksel Lund Svindal: Hear It from a Skier: Take a Risk for a Big Reward

In the latest episode of Future Forecast, Isabelle Ringnes was joined by highly decorated Norwegian alpine skier, Aksel Lund Svindal, whose many career highlights include five world-champion titles. Having recently retired from professional skiing, Aksel now focuses his attention on new ventures; he is a keen start-up investor, he has launched a sustainable clothing brand and is writing a book. Listen to the podcast now.

A Dose of Risk from Aksel Lund Svindal

Aksel’s positive outlook on life and his ability to calculate and take risks have helped him go all the way in his skiing career. Aksel emphasizes that risk-taking is a must to stay ahead, but that each risk needs a reward, so the risk-reward must be calculated and equal a real payoff. Aksel explains this concept with his skiing; during a career peak, he would push himself further and take greater risks because he knew that the reward would be high (i.e. he would be on the podium). If he was not on top of his game he would take less risk because he knew that the reward would not be worth it, where a medal would pass him by. He emphasizes that risk should never jeopardize the health, if so, the risk-reward formula would not make sense. Aksel translates risk-taking into a business where leaders should manage risk according to inevitable setbacks. Leaders often have to deal with tough situations, for example, where employees’ jobs may be on the line. A good leader will make decisions with empathy, and that all leaders should bring energy to the table. Aksel explains that people are drawn to strong energy, which will inspire employees to help their leader reach new goals, even during a difficult period.



Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The recent retirement of professional skiing has shifted Aksel’s focus onto new business projects. He sees a lot of parallels between top sports and business and highlights that teamwork is one such parallel that is imperative in both worlds. A business is made up of small teams to be put together carefully with individual and broader goals. Each type of team will only succeed if the right teams are created with the right representatives, and managed with a purpose.


Making Way for a More Sustainable Future 

Aksel highlights that for a company to succeed it must simply follow emerging trends. His new business venture has been set-up with sustainability at its core. His clothing line, Greater Than A, will give people more choice when they shop, so they can choose sustainability. Aksel emphasizes that sustainable living “is the sum of many small things,” as Zero Waste Chef, Anne Marie Bonneau put it: “We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Aksel is keen to contribute to the sustainable movement so that people can make better choices in their daily lives, with the ultimate result that sustainable businesses will have more customers, and prices can be more competitive.

  • Interested to hear more from Aksel Lund Svindal? Play the Future Forecast episode below to hear how risk-taking and team-work are a must for top athletes and businesses alike, plus why we must take note of sustainability: