Dan Pontefract


Dan Pontefract

Chief Envisioner of TELUS Transformation Office | Bestselling Author of Flat Army and The Purpose Effect

Your people are your most valuable asset, and if you want them to excel―and your profits to soar―you need to abandon your traditional management style and adopt a collaborative, open leadership approach—one that engages and empowers your staff. Dan Pontefract, bestselling author of Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization, and The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization, shares leadership tools that push the boundaries of organizational change to create workplace cultures that shine.

Previously, as Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS, Dan was responsible for the overarching learning, collaboration & leadership development strategy for the company. Dan championed the introduction of the TELUS Leadership Philosophy (TLP), an open and collaborative-based leadership framework for all 40,000+ TELUS team members. In parallel to these actions, he drove a philosophical and cultural shift in the way TELUS views and experiences learning called “Learning 2.0”; the shift to a social, informal and formal learning and collaboration model bringing TELUS to the forefront of connected learning and leading. He further championed the use and deployment of collaborative technologies to complement both the learning and leadership frameworks. Between 2008 and 2014, employee engagement at TELUS soared from 53% to 85%.

Dan’s career is interwoven with both corporate and academic experience, coupled with an MBA, B.Ed and multiple industry certifications and accreditations. Dan is also a renowned speaker and has been invited to deliver over 100 external keynotes and presentations since 2009, including a TEDx Talk. In 2012, he appeared on the front cover of T+D magazine and Chief Learning Officer magazine.

In 2010, Dan was acknowledged by CLO as a “Vanguard Award” winner and is a two-time winner by the Corporate University Best in Class Awards of the ‘Leader of the Year’ in both 2010 and 2011. In 2012, SkillSoft awarded Dan the “Learning Leader of the Year” for his work at TELUS and CLO magazine bestowed him the ‘Learning in Practice Innovation Award’ as well. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Brandon-Hall “Gold Award in Strategy & Governance.” In 2014, his team became a 9-time winner of the prestigious “ATD BEST” award.

Dan was recruited into TELUS in Q4 of 2008, previously holding senior positions with SAP, Business Objects, Crystal Decisions and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

The Purpose Effect

Purpose ought to be thought of as a three-way relationship between an individual’s personal sense of purpose in life, the organization’s purpose and a person’s purpose in their role at work. When all three aspects of purpose are properly defined, are well aligned, and function in partnership with one another, then the employee, the organization and society mutually benefit. When they are not, it can lead to significant damage in society and in the organization. Dan Pontefract speaks about this intersection, which he calls the “sweet spot”, outlining strategies for individuals, leaders and organizations to employ in order to create “The Purpose Effect”.

Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization

Leadership is the act of engaging others to influence and execute a coordinated and harmonious conclusion. But far too often, leaders act with power, control and commanding attitudes creating harmful and deleterious effects to organizational morale and engagement. This is why employee engagement levels are so low in today’s organizations.

To bring about a more collaborative and open organizational culture, leaders need to create an environment where there is reciprocal trust between the employee and leadership to do what’s right however, whenever and with whomever.

To create an organizational culture that is full of engaged and connected employees is hard work, but not impossible. Dan Pontefract speaks about a “Flat Army”, the strategic actions leaders and the organization can take to improve both its culture and its business results.