5 Zingers on Flat Army (Dan Pontefract)

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Have you been to Paris and  quickly glanced at the Mona Lisa or raced around the Arc de Triomphe? Dan Pontefract encourages us to slow down and notice the world not only when we are in Paris but to notice how our organizations have changed or need to change. How do we create a connected and engaged organization? Dan is the Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS. He encourages us to create, join, and sustain a flat army.  A flat army is people within an organization moving together as a collective one. Flat Army is a detailed book offering a powerful model and set of practices to change how we engage with each other and our work — taking us from command and control to organizational cultivation and coordination.

Flat Army Cover

Here are 5 zingers from Dan’s book:

  1. Current state of engagement. Dan offers the evidence and history of how our organizations are disconnected in the age of connection and how employees are disengaged when we need high levels of engagement. Our leadership models are incongruent with today’s workplace. Organizational leadership needs to embrace a more open and collaborative workplace. They need to build a Flat Army
  2. Being a connected leader. Dan outlines the characteristics and competencies for leadership from becoming to being and beyond. In being a connected leader the characteristics range from delivering to clowning. New leadership can deliver with a results orientation while also connecting with a sense of humor and playfulness. The two are not mutually exclusive.
  3. Organizational examples of Flat Army in Action. The book offers the reader a variety of profiles of flat armies in action. From Zappos and HCL Technologies to the flat army at TELUS.
  4. Tools for the Flat Army leader. Leaders need to build their social media competencies, dimensions and skills. Dan offers snapshots of social media tools ranging from micro-blogging and wikis to webjams and tagging.
  5. Mintzberg and McGill. Dan is from Canada and so am I. Certainly one of our leadership/management treasures is Henry Mintzberg from McGill. I appreciate Dan’s quotation from Mintzberg, who believes in a mosh pit of leadership and management, “no one wants to be led by someone that is not a manager and no one wants to be managed by someone that is not a leader.”

I encourage you to read Flat Army to receive your “marching orders” to meaningfully advance leadership and engagement as we approach 2020.

David Zinger is the leading global independent employee engagement expert who recently worked on engagement in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Berlin, Prague, Chicago and New York. David worked for 3 summers engaging and working with very small flat armies: honeybees. David has convened honeybees and humans together through office objects and technologies so that we may learn valuable lessons in leadership from their practices. To access Mr. Zinger’s services email him at: david@davidzinger.com.

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