Dan Pontefract, Founder & CEO The Pontefract Group
Dan Pontefract, based in Canada (Victoria, British Columbia) is a leadership strategist, author, keynote speaker and trusted advisor. After a successful career including as ‘Chief Envisioner’ and Chief Learning Officer at TELUS, a $14bn Canadian telecommunications company where he (among other things) set up a special internal TELUS MBA, a role he took on after senior roles at major tech firms such as SAP, Business Objects and BCIT. Dan then founded The Pontefract Group, which is all about building bridges between life and work.
Writing for Forbes and Harvard Business Review, he’s also an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business, and has published four books (with a fifth on the way!). And as you’re going to hear, Purpose is very much at the heart of all his recent work and thinking; he says he helps organizations and leaders become better versions of themselves, plus offers consulting to help organizations get more “collaborative, productive, engaged and purpose-driven”.
Ask Dan Pontefract, about his current mission and he’ll tell you, “If we want Purpose to happen, maybe we need to take a look at our thinking”—and that, “We’re not here to see through each other, we’re here to see each other through.” Sounds like we need his input into our work trying to answer our defining question for Season 7 of ‘Is Purpose Working?’ Agreed—and we do just that in this episode, but then we do even more: in the first of a two-half Purpose podcast, we then have a mid-Season discussion.
This podcast interview covers topics like:
- Why Purpose needs to be more than ‘values on the wall’ but a working, operating behavior guide
- His idea that there are three kinds of Purpose—personal, role and organizational
- Why he’s convinced there’s a direct link between EBITDA and Purpose
- Is it the employer’s responsibility or not to help the employee find their Purpose?
- Why Purpose is much more a realistic business deliverable after COVID than it was in 2015
Then for the second half, as we mentioned, we pivot after the conversation with Dan to conduct a special three-way review of some recent key developments with regard to Purpose and what’s going on out there in a fast-moving COVID world right now.
Get ready for a quick debate between on what we took from talking to Dan like the many levels of Purpose beyond organizational and why they need to align and his sharp linking of Purpose and Empathy, as well as external developments such as:
- How talk of Purpose is everywhere right now—including for the President-Elect—but will it stand the test of Time?
- A year on from the famous Business Roundtable statement, what’s actually happening in the real world, Purpose-wise?
- A critique of the September KKS Advisors Purpose audit and its methodology
- Where we are with possible metrics to help… if we even need them
- Dan Pontefract LinkedIn profile
- The Ponefract Group website
- The famous 1970 essay by economist Milton Friedman
- Tim Bray’s very public resignation from Amazon: Purpose in action?
- Dan’s four books (so far)—LEAD. CARE. WIN: How To Become a Leader Who Matters, OPEN TO THINK, THE PURPOSE EFFECT and FLAT ARMY—can be bought through his site here.
- RedThread’s on-going Purpose work
A number of recent reports and news announcements get referenced to in the discussion half of the podcast:
- KKS Advisors writing on ‘Covid-19 and Inequality: A Test of Corporate Purpose’
- World Economic Forum’s new work on quantifying Stakeholder Capitalism
- Business Roundtable’s own Purpose self-assessment, one year on
- and the latest rev of the Edelman Trust Barometer.
This season will culminate in a live online gated experience (a webcast) where we'll review and debate what we've learned. Seats are limited. Secure your place today, over at www.novoed.com/purpose.
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