Team Building Helps Government Succeed, Too

There is a new trend in American politics, and it has nothing to do with the degree to which the country leans left or right or backwards.

Increasingly, American political leaders embrace team building as a key strategy to making government more effective.

Take John Hickenlooper, the newly elected Governor of Colorado. A centrist who appeals to both the blues and the reds, Hickenlooper applies his business experience as a successful brewery owner to the principles of governing. And he's a fervent believer in team building.

And not necessarily the kind of team building that isolates bureaucrats in a room and makes them apply blue, red and green dots to butcher paper. The New York Times describes Hickenlooper's style as "fun-loving and freewheeling" - the kind of guy who understands that people who have fun at work, perform better and make the organization more productive.

The results?  According to the Times:  "...he has had a remarkably successful administration, streamlining government, persuading voters to go along with a range of tax increases for projects like regional light rail and a new city jail and shepherding many homeless people off the streets and into newly built affordable housing."

Hickenlooper is in good company, too. Federal agencies such as the International Trade Association proudly publish team building advisories for their staff, and the City of Louisville, KY hosts team building retreats of various kinds in the Jefferson Memorial Forest. GovConExecutive, a blog site for government executives, urges top government executives to engage in fun team building outings such as scavenger hunts and cooking challenges to foster "creative thinking and relationships... while having fun."

Fun team building isn't just for the private sector any more.




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