Monday Moments with President Bergman: March 25, 2019

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on March 25th, 2019 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Do you consider yourself to be an observant person? Do you notice details of the world around you?

During that recent day of rain, we noticed that water was coming into the basement of our home in the Twin Cities. Everyone rushed downstairs. Where was the water coming from? What things need to be moved from the floor? Are the sump pumps working? Immediately, we began to vacuum up the water, hoping to keep it from reaching the nearby carpet. We furiously pumped water, slowing the flow into the basement but gradually losing the battle with the growing puddle.

While most people worked in the basement, one of my sons went outside to investigate. A river had formed in the backyard due to ice and was flowing into a window well and straight into our basement. Suddenly, our solution was clear. After some quick shoveling, we cut a channel that redirected the water, ended the flooding, and saved us from any major damage.

I have come to believe that one characteristic of delivering excellence is being a keen observer. Asking questions, gathering data, and carefully examining assumptions are all important aspects of solving problems. The more you “see” about a situation, the more likely it is that you will have an “aha moment” where you gain a much-needed insight. Whether it is in the classroom, in a committee meeting, on the athletic field, or in the boiler room, we are constantly trying to find solutions to the various challenges we face in our daily work. We are often in situations where the next step is not entirely clear. The decisions we make, including decisions to take action, decisions to continue gathering input, or decisions to stick with the status quo, all have downstream effects.

Last week, we could have kept pumping water in the basement. Eventually, we would have solved the problem, but not without time, money, and much wasted effort. Instead, paying attention to detail allowed us to address the problem at its root.

Being observant matters, and not just when there is a crisis situation. This week, I encourage you to pay close attention to situations and people around you. What do you notice? Is there something we can do differently to improve the situation? Don’t hesitate to jump in and help. Each of us can keep our eyes open, ask good questions, and be a problem solver.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties!

With respect,



Comments are closed.