Creating a Connected & Collaborative Organization: Top Tips #KMWorld

KMWorld 2013Speaker: Dan Pontefract, Head, Learning & Collaboration, TELUS & Author, Flat Army

[These are my notes from the KMWorld 2013 Conference. Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

Session Description: Our experienced practitioner and author shares top tips and real-world examples for creating a connected and engaged organization—“a Mecca of collaboration; a culture that fosters innovation, creativity, teamwork and friendship.” He discusses leadership, incorporating collaboration practices, new learning models, and methods of engagement to build teamwork and positive bottom-line results in any organization. Take home great tips to make your organization more productive!


  • How do we solve Problems?
    • When we work and problem solve alone, it can feel like you’re pushing a boulder up a hill. It can feel like you’re in solitary confinement.
    • When more people are engaged in problem solving, you share the burden and lighten the load
  •  Without culture,
    • there is no collaboration
    • there is no productive, positive or panoptic use of technology — if your people are disengaged, they will continue that disengaged behavior when you put technology in front of them
  • Employee Engagement: “the state in which there is reciprocal trust between the employee and leadership to do what’s right however, whenever and with whomever.”
    • According Gallup, engagement is enjoying being at your company and intend to stay
      • 30% of American workers are engaged
      • 13% of workers worldwide are engaged
    • According to BlessingWhite
      • 40% of American workers are engaged
    • According to AonHewitt
      • 20% of American workers are engaged
    • What’s the impact of disengagement?
      • AonHewitt: One disengaged employee costs, on average, $10,000 in lost profit.
      • Gallup: The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees cost the US economy $450-$550 billion
    • When engagement goes up, employees galvanize each other to improve products and services.
  • Flat Army Approach at Telus
    • Before the flat army approach, Telus had static and unimpressive levels of employee engagement.
    • After the flat army approach, the levels of employee engagement are move upwards impressively. According to AonHewitt, Telus’ employee engagement scores are the highest in Canada and put the Telus in the top 1% globally.
    • TLC: The leadership philosophy is Open, Collaborative, Connected
    • Connected Learning Model: This has three equal parts — formal learning, informal learning, social learning
    • Habitat Social: Social sites, my sites, Wikis, Buzz, Blogs, video , web jams
  • Connected Leader
    • there are 15 attributes every connected leader needs to demonstrate that help her become a connected leader, be a connected leader, and then go beyond.
  • Collaborative Leader Action Model:
    • Connect with your people
    • Consider what needs to be done
    • Communicate what you are going to do
    • Create the results
    • Confirm the results
    • Congratulate/ say thanks
  • Participative Leader Framework
    • The leader needs to demonstrate care
    • Consume AND contribute information
    • Build up your networks inside AND outside your organization
  • Pervasive Learning
    • Go beyond classroom learning — the sage on the stage
    • Use collaborative technologies that let you converse, create and share content, provide context.
  • Collaboration is a behavior
    • Just like Canada Geese, we need to rotate roles and share responsibilities in order to help the entire team reach the ultimate goal.
  • What tools?
    • Habitat Social: videos, jam, photos, my sites, blogs & wikis (confluence), portal (SharePoint)
    • Telus lead & grow series: live webcast, live micro-blogging, videos
      • the webcasts involve internal & external speakers
      • the conversations are unscripted, employees can ask questions via the
    • Telus Collaboration House
      • they have partnered with Avaya to create a virtual space that is used for
        • fireside chats
        • the entire onboarding training — new employees are given passports and then they acquire badges as they complete the requisite training.
    • Interactive Learning (gamification)
      • coaching is assessed through competetion — weekly “meets” in a virtual space
      • using games that help teach people how they can interact in their corporate stores = it allows them to experience what it is like to be in front of a customer in a safe space. This builds empathy and trust.
    • Jam provides activity stream, video, microblogging, etc.
    • SharePoint:
      • They wanted to develop their “Customers First” commitments/promises. Rather than having the C-Suite lock themselves into a conference room to create these promises, they engaged employees in a promise of generating the promises
  • Business Benefits of Collaboration
    • Industry complaints went up by 26% last year. Telus’ complaints went down 27% over the same period.
    • Telus did a two-for-one stock split recently
    • Telus has created a Transformation Office to help other organizations develop a similarly collaborative culture
  • Flat Army
    • Flat: without hierarchy
    • Army: a group engaged in common purpose
  • Blogger’s Note: Dan Pontefract has an amazing story to tell. Do yourself a favor, read his book!!!

2 thoughts on “Creating a Connected & Collaborative Organization: Top Tips #KMWorld

  1. Fab notes! My many thanks … and much appreciated the Hat Tip to read Flat Army. “We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through.” 🙂

    1. It was my pleasure, Dan! Thanks for an inspiring and energizing presentation. And good luck with your new position. I look forward to hearing about the next chapter of your journey.

      – Mary

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