Björn T. Atterstam
The common denominator for the different professional roles I have had so far is to be a pioneer - to explore and promote novel ways of working, thinking and being.
In the 1990s I wore the label of a "futurist", helping large firms in my native Sweden better understand how to use this thing called the World Wide Web. I was part of starting up a successful management consulting firm where we developed strategies for how to shift business practices to the "information superhighway".
As my consulting practice developed, I shifted focus to the more complex task of making sure everyone in an organization was committed to the strategy. I worked with innovative approaches for strategy creation and implementation. This happened through dialogue and inclusive large-scale engagement - giving people, many people, a voice in their future. Nowadays we would call this collective intelligence.
I did my MBA at Columbia Business School in New York City, one year after the Enron scandal unfolded. This experience awoke my interest in the role of leaders in society and a passion for leader development. I became intrigued by the question of how leaders can be more aware of and attuned to the impact they are having on the people around them and the world at large? A second related question that naturally followed was what role corporations play in society. Do they have a broader contribution beyond shareholder value creation?
Since completing a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at Wharton/University of Pennsylvania I have spent the last 10+ years pioneering people and leadership development practices — partly as an external expert working with large corporate clients, helping them with customized development and change programs; partly as an in-house senior leader, as the Group Head of Talent Management & Leadership Development for Prudential plc.
In addition to supporting THNK as a Service Line Director and senior faculty member, I am also completing my PhD at Rotterdam School of Management. My research area is post-hierarchical forms of leadership. We know that the traditional top-down approach is not working well, so what do we replace it with? The answer is: with more distributed and shared forms of leadership where old distinctions of leadership and followership are blurred and more individuals are both willing and skilled in stepping into the leadership role. I am researching how we can make this happen.