Helping Two Cultures Combine and Collaborate

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Posted: 02/06/16

"It has been great, through the days spent with BlueSky Experiences, watching everyone realise that they have a personal responsibility to communicate. It has been amazing to see how some simple team-building exercises delivered in an engaging way in a different environment can push things forward and make such a difference to the way people work together."  

Shona Pickering, Academic Head, Supported Learning, Dundee & Angus College

About Dundee and Angus College

Forming in 2013 after the merging of Dundee College and Angus College, Dundee and Angus College offers a diverse range of courses to students across Tayside. With campuses in Dundee and Arbroath, Dundee and Angus College is one of the largest further education colleges in the country. 

While the merger has marked an exciting period for the newly formed college, bringing together the talents and expertise of those running and lecturing at both colleges has also created some new challenges for the team. 

The differences in culture between the two colleges meant that a commonality needed to be found to allow the new 'super' college to grow and for students to continue to have a positive experience with minimal disruption.  

The BlueSky Brief

Identify approaches to help bring the teams together and work as one unified group with a consistency in communications and values.

BlueSky's Approach 

Through detailed discussions it was clear that the newly formed Supported Education team required to get to know each other, understand their different styles of communication and approach, ultimately to find the best way to work more effectively together. 

BlueSky Experiences recommended a programme of experiential learning with BlueSky Team Solutions. The programme highlights the key areas required for a team to be high performing with the following key topics:

Goals- It is vital that a team understand its purpose. This may seem obvious but teams can find themselves without targets and goals. 

Roles- After a re-structure roles may overlap too much or not be communicating effectively and this will cause frustration and poor performance. 

Operating Procedures- the team may have strong relationships however the meeting flow and procedures must support effective ways of working. 

Relationships- At the core of any team is the necessity to have strong relationships supporting rapport in communications. 

Inter team relationships- Finally the most difficult area is inter team communication, breaking down silo mentality, this requires teams to be aligned with a common approach and a good operating procedure to support this. 

This programme of team working activities creates the behaviours that the team naturally exhibit whilst undertaking a task. This then gives the team the opportunity to discuss the performance on the task, what went well and where they could improve. Finally in the last hour of the day supported by a BlueSky facilitator, the team link the learning back to the workforce and commit to actions supporting effective team work. 

The Results

  • Consistent communication across college
  • Team working more effectively together as one large team
  • More open, clear communication
  • Better understanding of individuals strengths and weaknesses. 
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