A 14-year Canadian Parliament member shares lessons on finding common ground

Honorable Mike Lake MP was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2006. In 2019, Lake was re-elected to a fifth term, receiving the highest vote total out of all candidates, from all parties, across of Canada. Lake shares personal lessons on how to establish trust and find common ground with all stakeholders.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

Honorable Mike Lake MP at the House of Commons 

Bernard Thibodeau

Honorable Mike Lake is a Canadian Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Wetaskiwin. He was elected to Canadian Parliament in 2006 and has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry. Lake was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council, after being asked by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to serve on a Cabinet Committee tasked with efforts to balance the federal budget.

In 2019, Lake was re-elected to a fifth term, receiving the highest vote total out of all candidates, from all parties, across of Canada. He currently serves as the Shadow Minister for International Development. Prior to entering federal politics, Lake worked for 10 years with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. Lake and his family have been active supporters of autism organizations, families and individuals across the country, and around the world, while sharing their story of life with Jaden, Mike's 24-year-old son who has autism.

To help us better understand how leaders can establish trust, build consensus by finding common ground, Ray Wang, CEO and founder of a Silicon Valley-based advisory firm Constellation Research, and I invited Honorable Mike Lake MP to join our weekly show DisrupTV. Here are my main takeaways of our conversation with Mr. Lake: 

  1. To find common ground, broaden the base of who you are following. Lake reminds us that social media can be an echo chamber, where our points of view can be reinforced. Lake said communicate in a way to build allies by connecting with a diverse group of people. 
  2. Be respectful. Your can be firm and passionate about change, but you should not call people names.
  3. Listen to people who disagree with you. Lake's best moments of reflection come from opportunities of engaging with others in a respectful and insightful manner. 
  4. Networking is about giving and purposefully connecting people. Lake is motivated by connecting successful people from different backgrounds. 
  5. Our labels are simple constructs, not who we are as people. Lake reminds us that we sometimes get too focused on labels rather than people. We are human beings before we belong to a specific party or group. Labels do not describe why we do what we do. Lake likes to bring people together who have similar why's and purpose. People who are passionate for outcomes and better impacts for society is what motivates Lake in connecting others. 
  6. Take a look at your social and digital posts, and then post. Chew on your words before you spit them out is what I always say. Lake reminded us that we need to be mindful of what we share. Use remarkable words and when give a choice between clever or kind, always choose kind. 
  1. Expand your view and definition of what is normal. Lake passionately talked about his 24-year-old son Jaden. Jaden sees the world in a different way. He is non-verbal but absolutely incredible in so many ways. Lake talked about how Jaden was a delegate to the global disabilities summit. Jaden has an incredible visual memory. When you get to know Jaden, you quickly realize that he is fantastic talents and abilities.

  2. 2019 World Autism Awareness Day Statement

    This afternoon in the Canadian House of Commons, I presented my annual one-minute statement for World Autism Awareness Day, always a highlight of my year with Jaden watching from the gallery. Here's the text: "Yesterday was World Autism Awareness Day and the anniversary of my son, Jaden’s diagnosis at age two. Autism comes with no end of labels, and in Jaden’s case, one of those labels is ‘non-verbal.’ Ironically, I think Jaden’s most important label is his name. I say ‘ironically’ because, unbeknownst to us when we named him, Jaden’s name means ‘God has heard.’ There are few things I know for sure, but I know this. My 23-year-old non-verbal son has something to say. He says it in the simple words he types or writes. He says it with a sideways smile, a mysterious giggle, a whimsical look, and sometimes with heartfelt tears. And if you have the patience to just wait on him, quietly be present with him, joining him in the moment - in his moment - he will touch your heart in the most magical of ways. You will hear his voice. And you will never forget what he has to say."

    Posted by Mike Lake on Wednesday, April 3, 2019
  3. An inclusive society and organization can find incredible talent everywhere. Jaden is a perfect example of how hidden talents can be discovered when we welcome inclusion. Lake is a fan of the concept of moving from inclusion and using that as a stepping stone of discovering talents and abilities that may be overlooked. 

9. The ability to work from home is a privilege. Lake talked about shifting work from office to home by taking advantage of technology. Lake reminded us that by adopting a mindset of generosity, empathy and trust, we can continue to serve our stakeholders. Lake is optimistic and generous with his time. Mike shares consistently on Twitter and Facebook with content that is educational, uplifting and relevant. 

I encourage you to watch our entire video with Mike Lake MP. We also followed this conversation with discussions about the future of education with Leah Belsky, Chief Enterprise Officer, Coursera. Coursera was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng with a vision of providing life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere. Coursera is now a leading online learning platform for higher education, where 66 million learners from around the world come to learn skills of the future. More than 200 of the world's top universities and industry educators partner with Coursera to offer courses, specializations, certificates, and degree programs. 

We ended our conversation on episode 200 of DisrupTV with Dion Hinchcliffe, VP & Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, discussing the post pandemic playbook for CIOs and the importance of digital transformation in the Next Normal. Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized business strategist, bestselling author, enterprise architect, industry analyst, and noted keynote speaker. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in digital strategy, the future of work, and enterprise IT.  

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