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News: Teamscapes Selected For NHS Qualifications

20 Feb 2012

In light of the Department of Health's ‘Transforming Community Services' project, Nichol Orton, Head of Organisational Development at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, set out to change the culture of her organisation through developing people and leaders. In November 2010 Orton came across Sundial Teamscapes®, a year later Trust staff said: "Teamscapes provides the tools to help individuals feel part of a team and act as a team player. Feeling part of a team is vital for an organisation's success"

This is the story of how East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust used Teamscapes to support and progress their Organisational development strategy which contributed to changing the culture of their organisation.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is focused on gaining independent status as a Foundation Trust with a vision to be ‘A great Trust providing the best possible healthcare to the people of East Lancashire!' - they identified that team development is fundamental for this. Following the transfer of 800 community staff into East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Orton recognised that key considerations for the smooth integration of teams, and hence future success for the Healthcare Trust, lay within improving communications across teams, developing individuals self awareness and learning how individuals can operate successfully within a team.

In November 2010 Orton attended the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) exhibition in Manchester, seeking the perfect product to aid her development plans for the hospital staff. It was here that she came across Sundial Teamscapes, she reports "I observed Lucy McGibbon [Sundial Group's Learning & Development Director] demonstrating the Teamscapes Blockheads exercise... My colleagues and I became hooked within minutes. Teamscapes is so powerful and simple; I saw how it could help support the learning and development of our Trust in so many ways."

After experiencing the innovative team building activities for herself at a Teamscapes open day, she was confident this was the product she had been looking for, commenting "We participated in outdoor Teamscapes with people we had not met before, amazingly, we quickly developed a bond as a group - if Teamscapes can achieve that with strangers the possibilities with colleagues who work together everyday are endless!"

She continued, "One of the main selling points of Teamscapes was the development of trust. It is so essential to all relationships, yet often not considered. Trust is one of the most important ingredients to become a successful leader and team." Orton felt that selecting an appropriate team development programme was essential in conveying the right message to the team. Whilst developing individuals for Transforming Community Services, it was also important to select a training and development programme which would strike the delicate balance between fun and learning. Whilst she wanted the team to have fun on the programme and hoped it would offer a different way of saying ‘you are important to us' to the staff, she says what really sold it was the power of the learning that comes out of completing Teamscapes activities. According to Orton, the powerful learning is a derivative of the facilitation style used with Teamscapes which "Really challenged group thinking and behaviours".

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has been pioneering in selecting the Team Building with Teamscapes EDI Accredited Programme to further qualify members of their organisation, developing the individuals to create stronger more efficient teams which will improve their services, in line with the DH's Transforming Community Services. The first large scale event took place in November 2011 and was run for over 140 team members of the East Lancashire Hospitals Trusts at Clitheroe Community Hospital. The programme used four portable indoor and outdoor Teamscapes activities, which meant that with no travelling involved, there were major savings in both time and money for the programme. The event involved 16 groups, each completing three Teamscapes activities over two days, concluding with all participants gaining their certificate in Team Building with Teamscapes (equivalent level of learning to NVQ Level 2 qualification).

Orton reports that although there was initial trepidation by those who felt negative connotations of team building, the attendees enjoyed the day and gave optimistic feedback, and in fact asked to do the programme again in the future. One commented that taking part in Teamscapes was "A great experience, very well run and very enjoyable, the exercises were excellent and the facilitators really helped us learn. The quality of the materials made us feel valued." Whilst another said "I would recommend Teamscapes as it is an effective way to allow individuals to achieve something they may not think they can, in doing so it builds confidence and self esteem. Feeling part of a team and being a team player are vital for organisations, Teamscapes demonstrate this and provides the tools to facilitate it within the workplace."

Orton conferred, "Teamscapes has been an exciting journey for us, we are the first NHS Trust to work with Teamscapes and yet already the differences we can visibly see are amazing... Since completing the programme we have seen difficult, challenging characters reflecting and amending their style." She concludes "So many staff developed their own self awareness. As an organisation we have learnt that the team is important but the self in team is crucial."

A post event survey was sent to every participant to measure the level of learning that could be transferred back to the workplace as a result of the Teamscapes event, 100% of the respondents responded positively in relation to ‘I understand how together we can achieve so much more', ‘I understand how important it is to support each other' and ‘I understand how my contribution adds value to the team's overall performance.' For more information of the survey's findings please contact where you may request a copy of the report.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS will be carrying out the Team Building with Teamscapes Accreditation programme with a further 200 Trust staff in May 2012, following the success of this event.


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