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Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract

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Chapter Six

Beyond the Connected Leader

Compassion leaves an indelible blueprint of the recognition that life so sorely needs between one individual and another; one nation and another; one culture and another. It is also valid for the road which our spirit should be building now for crossing the historical abyss that still separates us from a truly contemporary vision of life, and the increase of life and meaning that awaits us in the future.
—Laurens van der Post1

Let's take a trip down memory lane. When I was working in higher education at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the team and I were doing our best to rewire how people thought businesses should be operating through the career-changing programs we offered. For many of the programs, significant work experience was a requirement to being admitted. Rest assured that those who had work experience brought with them attitudes about ingrained hierarchy, fiefdoms and hoarding.

For one activity, we would take certain student cohorts ice skating. Needless to say, the activity was a surprise to all. The only instructions issued beforehand were to dress warmly and keep an open mind. Potential lawsuits aside, why would we have thirty full-grown adults—average age of 32 years—head off for an afternoon of ice skating as part of the program?

The composition of each cohort was intentionally similar: three to five skating wizards and ten to fifteen others who were quite good skaters, but not in the wizard ranks. We'd ...

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