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Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization Hardcover – March 25, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Hardcover, March 25, 2013
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Editorial Reviews


"a canon of radically different management" - Forbes

"several elaborate, interlinked models for connected leadership, you will certainly get lots of ideas" - The Globe and Mail

"takes a deep look at the gestalt of leadership both in one's self and in how one collaborates with others. There is plenty to learn and practice, as well as the inspiration to guide." - Forbes

From the Inside Flap

Leaders of any description and department are struggling. Society is awash with social technologies; employees want to be included in the conversations and decisions; and management is stuck sorting out how teams should operate using dated leadership models in a new and technologically- sophisticated social world order. Human Resources needs to catch up with technology; Finance continues to operate in a silo; and IT is tripping over both legacy systems and newer, social technologies, while experiencing difficulty adjusting to a more collaborative behavioral model. Most importantly, employees are becoming significantly more disengaged.

Does any of this sound familiar?

There is no easy way to undo what years, and even decades, of outdated management practice have done to leaders. Command and control is rampant, evil and unnecessary. The process of change has to start with the leadership in any organization, and Flat Army is designed to prevent your organization's ship from sinking. Dan Pontefract knows and understands what happens to organizations when employees are unhappy and uncommitted. More importantly, he knows what it takes to create a leadership culture that drives engagement, empowerment and encouragement amongst continued execution. In all of the corporate leadership roles he has had, he held a steadfast belief that a collaborative, connected and participative leadership framework is the only way in which to operate.

Pontefract is currently the Head of Learning and Collaboration at TELUS—an international telecommunications organization of 40,000 employees—where he and the TELUS team instituted concepts such as the TELUS Leadership Philosophy; a formal, informal and social learning model known as Learning 2.0; and a plethora of open, social and collaborative technologies that, in part, helped TELUS augment its approach to leadership and engagement.

Today, employee engagement at TELUS sits at 80 percent, the highest in Canada for large-sized organizations and in the top one percent globally. TELUS and Dan have received multiple awards from ASTD, CLO and Skillsoft in recognition of the growth of a new culture of leadership, collaboration and learning.

Prepare to be entertained, shocked and engaged. Challenge yourself. Challenge the status quo. Flat Army pushes the boundaries of organization change. It can change yours.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118529790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118529799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In recent years, we have observed a tsunami of books, articles, and events that focus on employee engagement. Much of what hey provide and discuss is based on research by highly reputable firms. In Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Community (Jossey-Bass/Wiley Imprint, April 2013), Dan Pontefract cites an article in the Gallup Business Journal that characterizes an engaged employee as someone who will "work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward."

In my review of The Enemy of Engagement, I suggest that what sets this book apart from other recently published books on the problems of employee engagement and how to solve them is Mark Royal and Tom Agnew's focus on employees who were once actively and productively engaged and have either become passively engaged ("mailing it in") or actively disengaged and, in some instances, perhaps even hostile and toxic. During exit interviews of highly-valued employees before they depart to work elsewhere, they express frustration with working conditions (especially those who supervise them) that prevent them from personal growth and/or professional development.

Dan Pontefract shares my high regard for The Enemy of Engagement, quoting this passage:

"Though frameworks for understanding engagement vary, the concept is commonly understood to capture levels of commitment and discretionary effort exhibited by employees. Engaged employees can be expected to display high levels of attachment to an organization and a strong desire to remain a part of it.
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Format: Hardcover
Do we have the passion and courage to follow where Dan Pontefract has led us? That is the only question that remains after reading this exquisite book.

DP (as he signs his emails, in lower case) has nailed it! Flat Army's goal is to help us understand how to achieve an unobstructed flow of corporate commonality in today's social era. His five tenets -- Connection, Collaboration, Participation, Learning and Technology -- are the tenets not just of leading others, but of getting things done and of personal growth in a chaotic ever-changing world. DP takes us step-by-step from How We Got Here to the Rules and Tools We Need to Flat Armies in Action to the ultimate outcomes we all need to strive for. Comprehensive, clear and compelling coverage of how to strive for unity and success while shedding ourselves of hierarchical stumbling blocks.

Part philosophical grounding, part history lesson, part How To manual, Flat Army maps out the journey forward. "Inclusivity is important and engagement is key," DP writes, "but getting things done is also crucial. An equality between the two must form. This equality is the new organizational symbiosis."

Tooting His Horn For Him: I know this book, AND I know the man behind it. Dan is one of the 100 Disruptive Heroes I recently studied in my latest research. Take this man out for a beer and you'll see as much sparkle in his eye as you do off the top of his head, you'll be charmed by his wit, and you'll be blown away by his intellect. A man I'll always want in my flat army!
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Format: Hardcover
While the title may initially evoke images of hierarchical militaristic leadership, the core message is the polar opposite. The book encourages leaders and aspiring leaders at all levels to move away from command and control and towards engagement and employee empowerment. It does this by defining a number of key principles such as collaboration, participation, learning and technology that are at the heart of the modern organization. Other leadership books usually stop there, but Flat Army provides a number of models and frameworks that provide practical tools that help put the principles into action. Some of the models hang together more successfully than others, but the best provide succinct roadmaps to the behaviour change needed to move toward the engagement and empowerment ideals clearly held by the author.

The author writes very personally using stories, metaphors and analogies drawn from personal and professional experience. This alone helps the book stand out from the sterile and academic approach to many leadership books and makes for an enjoyable read. Clearly leadership is a very personal issue for Dan Pontefract and not simply an abstract concept.

Many of the leadership behaviours described in the book such as participation, collaboration and empowerment have been around for a while in other guises, but the book recasts them in the language of the modern workplace for a new generation of leaders and that's a good thing. Technology is not a common topic in leadership books, but here technology (read social media) is seen as an indispensable tool for a leaders to be truly connected and participative. Participative technology is seen as central to the leadership role, not just another tool in the leaders communication toolkit.
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