Fulton College staff challenged through experiential workshop

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Fulton College staff at the conclusion of the workshop.

Staff at Fulton Adventist University College recently participated in a three day workshop, focused on building effective teamwork.

The intention behind the workshop was to encourage all staff to effectively implement Fulton’s recently completed strategic plan. Facilitated by Duane Vickery and Danny O’Neill of ETM Perspectives, an Indigenous and South Sea Islander company specialising in leadership development and behavioural change, participants were challenged to take responsibility for their own contribution to team dynamics by taking risks and facing their fears to discover their own unconscious bias, default behaviours under pressure and “stretch points”.

“We allowed the group to ‘do the work’ which enabled participants to grapple with new revelations and then allow for the spirit of God to work,” said Mr Vickery. “It required high levels of trust and vulnerability in the room, which took humility and real intention.”

The experiential workshop, based on adaptive leadership and transformational leadership principles, highlighted some dominant group cultures and behaviours that were counter-productive to the group’s progress.

“We knew that the traditional teaching methodology of teacher to student, expert to learner, or jug to mug would not work in learning about team dynamics, particularly in this culture and context,” said Mr O’Neill.

Fulton principal Dr Glynn Galo (far left) thanks Danny O’Neill (co-facilitator), Duane Vickery (CEO of ETMP) and Angelo Bocchino (media specialist) for their work.

Feedback from staff was very positive. Pastor Anthony McPherson, head of the Theology faculty, said the approach was exactly what was needed.

“For [both my team and I], the training revealed that we had much shifting to do personally,” he said. “The application was immediately evident. I haven’t experienced this type of learning before.”

“The buddy training system where we each gave constructive feedback to one another on identified stretch points and growth needs was appreciated,” said Debra Tavita, head of department for the Foundation faculty.

Pastor Osea Raitila, head pastor and chaplain at Fulton College, said the workshop “hit the nail on the head.”

“This was an inside to outside type of change we personally experienced,” he said.

“The experiential approach to the workshop was very different to any training we’ve had in the past,” said Fulton principal Dr Glynn Galo. “This is exactly the kind of development sessions our church institutions in the Pacific Islands will benefit from. At the conclusion, we as a staff felt empowered, valued and a more united team.”