Phil LundbergOrganizational Systems Alumni 2008
An international consultant to businesses and a specialist in team dynamics, Phil Lundberg knows there are many pitfalls for companies that think a successful formula is easy to transfer someplace else.
"The more you use an expatriate model – one that doesn't take what the actual conditions are like locally – the easier it is for good intentions to be misunderstood and problems to crop up that could have been avoided," he says.
Phil came to Saybrook as the head of world-wide training for Mentor Graphics – a $7 billion company trying to take their successful American model to Asia. Though he was good at his job, Phil knew he needed to know more.
"My interest had always been focused on why organizations only change in crisis mode: why do they wait until there's a crisis, to make changes they've always known they need to make?" he says. "Going international really added a new dimension to this question."
He came to Saybrook because he saw that it was geared to his needs – and came highly recommended.
"I was very interested in system dynamics, and Saybrook fit that perfectly. I had some friends who had gone to Saybrook and I talked to them, and they had very good things to tell me," he says. "I went to a public seminar where Saybrook's director of enrollment came and I was very impressed by what she said. And then I went on the Saybrook webpage and read the description of one of the courses, and it resonated with me so thoroughly that was the defining moment. It was what I wanted to do."
He eventually conducted his PhD research on the conditions that lead to high-performing teams across multiple cultures – exactly the issues he was dealing with in the business world.
His findings create a road map for organizations looking to harness the best talents of their employees – wherever they are. "The three cultures I dealt with are the U.S., India, and France, and stereotypically those cultures are very different, they have different attributes," he says. "But I found things that were consistent on all of the really effective teams I studied."
Since graduating, he's taken his road map on the road as a consultant to organizations looking to set up new global ventures. In the last few years he's helped audiologists set up an international health network; helped a Caribbean medical school looking to create a global consortium of complementary and alternative medical schools, and worked with an online high school looking to expand its student body and develop its programs...
"My dissertation at Saybrook covered many of the issues I've had to deal with in the marketplace, and gave me the chance to speak with authority on the international stage," he says. "It was a great education."