Member Highlight - Jon Bergstrom - May 2006

Jon Bergstrom

Welcome to the first article in our new Member Highlight column. Each month we will interview members of the In2:InThinking Network. This month we asked Jon Bergstrom to provide his insights.

The Facts:
I recently retired from Shell Oil Company after 35 years of service. Since my retirement, I have provided a variety of business consulting services through the Bergstrom Learning Center. These services include a variety of leadership and management courses, workshop development and facilitation, and personal coaching. For the last seven years, I have taught team skills at International Space University in Strasbourg, France and ISU summer sessions at locations around the world. My business website provides information about many of these activities and can be accessed here.

Forum Attendance:
I have attended every forum except number one in 2002.

Why do you attend the Forum?
The In2:InThinking Forum is an exciting place to learn and to meet people who are interested in creating a better world. Each year I have gained new friends who are important in my learning journey.

Tell us about a recent "a ha" moment.
I am in a group that practices "Leadership Action Learning". This practice includes asking four types of questions - all in ways that assist others in their thinking without giving advice. My "a ha" is how helpful these questions are because each of us think so differently. It is very revealing to find out that you would not have thought through issues thoroughly without help from others. It is a constant reminder to stop doing all our thinking by ourselves.

What book are you reading now?
I am re-reading "Process Consultation - Revisited" by Edgar Schein. I am currently assisting several executives in their learning journey and I find this book to be the essential guide in establishing a helpful and trusting relationship.

What recent book have you read that you consider to be a "must read"?
One of my "must read" books is John Kotter's recent book - On What Leaders Really Do. Kotter defines differences he sees in management and leadership processes in this book. Both are essential for effectiveness. However, he notes that the reason we manage is to create consistent results. The reason we lead is to create change - often dramatic change. The concepts are very important to me in determining which process is important to engage in given the circumstances I face.

Describe a question you have been asked that made you stop and think.
A question that made me think was "What is most important for you to accomplish in the next year?" It is always important to be mindful of using our precious time wisely.

Why are you a part of the In2:InThinking Network?
The network offers me several valuable opportunities:
- Trusted Friendships: Building friendships with people who I rely on throughout the year for shared learning is very important.
- Monthly Ongoing Discussions: These discussions provide the opportunity to explore new thinking every month and to share in the conversations. I very much admire those who participate and feel close to them - many whom I have never met in person.
-Workshops: I am able to attend workshops, plus the Enterprise Thinking seminars, at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Canoga Park facility because of the network. This includes the wonderful workshops given by Russell Ackoff.
- Forums: The Forums are always the highlight of the year. The combination of all the workshops and the presentation provides a great learning opportunity. It is all in a setting where we can rub shoulders with everyone who is there.

What advice do you have for people new to In2:IN?
Any network serves you only as much as you wish to be served. My advice is to seek out at least two new thinking partners through the network. I believe you will surprise yourself at how helpful others can be if you only ask.