Can Team Building Help the Canadian House of Commons Learn to “Play Nicely”?

This is a question that a CBC Radio 1 reporter asked me during an interview to be aired across Canada on “The House” Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 9 AM.

Anne Thornley-Brown, our owner, was interviewed on CBC Radio 1’s “The House” around the 30:00 mark right after Harper’s work of the Saturday, December 6, 2008 broadcast.

If you missed it, you can listen to the podcast:

How Team Building Can Help the House of Commons Resolve Their Crisis

You’ll have to tune in to find out what I told her. Once the interview has been aired, I’ll do another blog entry and share what I said on the programme.

The interview arose out of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent comments as reported in the Globe and Mail:

“After emerging from Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where he obtained Governor-General Michäelle Jean’s consent to prorogue Parliament until late January, Mr. Harper began reaching out to opposition parties, saying he shares blame for the state of affairs.

“The public is very frustrated with the situation in Parliament and we are responsible for that; we are all responsible for that,” he said, noting both sides “have some trust building to do here” in the wake of a standoff triggered by Tory efforts to scrap per-vote political party subsidies.

Taking aim at the Liberal-NDP coalition that seeks to replace the Tories in office, Mr. Harper said it is time to hammer out the stimulus budget his rivals attacked him for not delivering.”

Can Harper defang the coalition?
PM has seven weeks to come up with a compromise that might appease his opponents

At this point, I will just say a couple of things and share a comment that I didn’t make during the interview.

1. My answer to the question was “Yes team building could help the House of Commons improve it’s effectiveness”. Team building can help highly functioning teams become more proactive and help dysfunctional teams work better.

2. Currently, the House of Commons is a dysfunctional team. The various political parties are operating based on the silo mentality, similar to what we see in some corporations. Team building can definitely break down silos and improve cross-functional team work.

3. This I didn’t share in the interview. To design a team building session that would produce optimal results, some bank presidents and economists, automobile company presidents, and union officials would also need to participate in the team building.

Tune in to the broadcast to find out what approach I would use to help the House of Commons function as a more cohesive unit. Check back here in a couple of days and I will share what I told the interviewer and add a link to an audio clip with the interview.

I stand by what I’ll say in the interview. I am up for the challenge and would happily lead a team building retreat and follow up sessions to help the House of Commons resolve its present crisis.

Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto based firm that specializes in business team building simulation to help teams and organizations improve their effectivenes. Executive Oasis International regularly organizes team building sessions and executive retreats in Canada, Dubai, Oman, Jamaica, Malaysia, and Singapore. A number of their simulations focus on improving cross functional teamwork.

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One thought on “Can Team Building Help the Canadian House of Commons Learn to “Play Nicely”?

  1. DysfunctionalParrot says:

    Politics isn’t about “team-building”, it is about power. Always has, and always will be.

    Nobody wants to be in second place. This is only the first of many staring matches. That’s minority government reality.

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