Dan Pontefract

Dan Pontefract

Leadership and Work Culture Expert | 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, The Purpose Effect, and Open to Think, shares leadership tools that push the boundaries of organizational change to create workplace cultures that shine.

Dan is currently the founder and CEO of The Pontefract Group, a firm that improves the state of leadership and organizational culture. Prior to this, Dan spent 10 years at TELUS as their Chief Envisioner at the TELUS Transformation Office, a future-of-work consulting group that helps organizations enhance their corporate cultures and collaboration practices. He was also previously the Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS where he was responsible for the overarching learning, collaboration, and leadership development strategy for the company.

While at Telus, 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 received the “Vanguard Award” from Chief Learning Officer (CLO) magazine, and is a two-time winner of the “Leader of the Year” award from Corporate University Best in Class Awards. He was also named the “Learning Leader of the Year” for his work at Telus by SkillSoft, and CLO magazine bestowed him the “Learning in Practice Innovation Award” as well. He is also the recipient of the Brandon-Hall “Gold Award in Strategy & Governance,” and in 2014, his team became a nine-time winner of the prestigious “ATD BEST” award.

A renowned speaker, Dan has delivered over 100 external keynotes and presentations since 2009, including a TEDx Talk.

A Field Guide to Genuine Leadership

Genuine leadership—how leaders act as human beings in their daily and strategic work with employees, customers and stakeholders—is arguably missing in many of today’s organizations. The reasons are all too familiar.

  • Command and control leadership tendencies.
  • Lack of collaboration amongst and between internal teams/departments.
  • Hoarding of information, content and intellectual property.
  • Power, as a sense of entitlement and the means of execution.
  • Failure to empathize or to recognize the humanity of getting things done.

It has to stop. Author Dan Pontefract recommends several leadership strategies and techniques that are sure to get you thinking about your own leadership habits and track record. The Field Guide to Genuine Leadership tackles the many taboos of bad leadership, while outlining practical, meaningful ways in which to become a more humane and effective leader.

The Critical Importance of Workplace Culture to Employee Engagement

Ever wonder why global levels of employee engagement in organizations continue to wane and remain so incredibly low? For leaders in any organization seeking to improve productivity and business results, they must first start with its own operating culture. To improve organizational culture is to build up and unleash behaviours that permit employees to connect and collaborate with one another effortlessly and full of goodwill. An employee only becomes engaged when the culture is open, transparent, communicative, collaborative and trustworthy. These are just some of the behaviours that must define how an organization operates. Author Dan Pontefract implores organizations to rethink its workplace culture by instituting systemic-wide behaviours that encourage one another to work together versus in silos or competitively. Engagement of employees occurs as a result of how they feel about the organization’s culture and its purpose. There is a way to fix it, and Dan has a way to help you out.

Why Purpose Matters for Employees and the Organization

Leaders may not know it yet, but having a sense of purpose has become table stakes for many employees at work. Equally important, today’s organizations are being pressured to begin exhibiting purpose in their operating practices. If there is a positive interconnection between the three distinct categories of purpose–personal, role and organization—the benefits will be felt by all stakeholders. Author Dan Pontefract refers to this balanced state of purpose as the ‘sweet spot.’ The alignment of purpose between self, role and organization is important not only for employees, but for leaders in the organization itself. The more a leader can assist employees to understand the alignment of personal, organizational and role purpose, the quicker everyone will recognize how important the ‘sweet spot’ is to an engaging and fulfilling lifetime of work. The quicker an employee defines, develops and decides their purpose—alongside how bought in they are to the organization’s purpose—the more engaged and innovative they will be in their role … and in their life in general.

We Are Losing the Ability to Think, and What to Do About It

Many of our current systems train us merely to function. We learn the routine. We master the process. The regiment starts at school, continues at university, and goes into overdrive when we begin to work. The problem? Ultimately we have lost the ability to think critically, to be creative, and to contemplate ideas of the unknown. Standards, procedures, technology, and incessant demand for short-term results over long-term planning are the big winners. In order to mitigate such calamities including the relentless pursuit of action and the pressure to “do more with less,” individuals must return to a state of balance between the three components of productive thought: dreaming, deciding, and doing. In this talk, author Dan Pontefract introduces tangible, actionable strategies to improve the way we think as organizations and individuals through the cyclical process of Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking and Applied Thinking. To become an Open Thinker, one must understand the relationship between reflection and action, and how it can negatively or positively affect an outcome. Dream. Decide. Do, Repeat.