Join me for ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Planning training in Brussels!

MG ToPBOOK NOW! ToP Group Facilitation MethodsEventbrite ToP BOOK NOW - AP15I am excited to announce these two new public courses in Brussels, repeated this November. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

These courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector; and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  It was following an earlier course with Social Platform in Brussels that I blogged Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.

Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days, November 17-18

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

Action Plannning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events – 1 day, November 19

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.

BOOK NOW for Group Facilitation Methods, November 17-18 and Action Planning, November 19 – or please contact me with any questions or for further details.

Team-building and planning with EMERGE Manchester

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first published in ICA:UK Network News #5, January 1998. It was one of my first client contracts as a freelancer and ICA:UK Associate (the first time, before I was an ICA:UK employee).

It was early days also for Emerge,then just newly registered as a company and with an all-volunteer team. EMERGE now provides a full range of waste, recycling and confidential shredding services to businesses and schools, and promotes sustainable resource management by offering advice, information and educational services within the wider community.


Emerge

Emerge (East Manchester Environment and Resources Group) is a local community-based initiative operating in Manchester since early 1996 and involving a pilot door-to-door recycling scheme and a complementary arts and education programme.  Through a referral from Manchester LETS, I was invited to help facilitate a team-building and planning weekend for around 20 Emerge volunteers and associates, November 21-23.  The fee was negotiated in sterling and Bobbins (local currency).

In a couple of preparatory meetings in Manchester we agreed a schedule for the weekend that included a number of sessions to be facilitated by me using ToP methods, and sessions led by other guest speakers and facilitators, with me co-ordinating the overall event.  When the weekend came, we all descended by minibus on the venue, Stanford Hall Co-operative College near Loughborough – a beautiful stately home with woods and a lake, kindly donated by the Co-operative Bank and well worth returning to for future ICA events!

The weekend opened with introductions, a review of the group’s anticipations and the schedule for the weekend, and then a Wall of Wonder looking at key events of the period 1982-2007 at the levels of the world, the community recycling movement and the individual.  The “Evolution of Consciousness’, as the group titled this journey, progressed through periods of Consumerism, Realisation and Action to culminate in Sustainability by 2007 – an optimistic start to the weekend!

Saturday morning’s presentations from Urban Mines and the Community Recycling Network were followed in the afternoon by an outdoor team-building exercise.  Modifying the indoor Tower Game I learned in ICA Egypt’s annual International Development Practitioner’s  Exchange Programme, I had three teams gather organic matter from the nearby woods and each build a tower to be judged on the basis of height, strength and beauty.  The teams took their tasks quite seriously and produced some fantastic structures, and seemed to have lots of fun in the process.

Although participants were all involved in some way or another in the daily work of Emerge, many had not met or worked much together, so this was an important part of the weekend.  This was followed by a presentation from Emerge’s Arts & Education team and, after dinner, by a pub quiz.

Sunday was given over entirely to a six-month planning session using the ToP Action Planning method, the project being defined as – “a demonstration community recycling project, including education and awareness raising, to impact Greater Manchester’s waste disposal policy toward ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’”.  Although the session took half as long again as I had anticipated, finally finishing around 4pm, the group’s energy was sustained throughout and they came away committed to a six month calendar of tasks assigned to new work teams and including regular follow-up sessions – and a long-term Participatory Strategic Planning to look at the next 3-5 years.

Matthew Adams of Emerge writes:

“Our first excursion as a group was a resounding success.  All in all we came away feeling more positive, more organised, with a better idea of where we are heading, and with realistic targets that can be achieved. Oh, and it was a good laugh as well!  Thanks to all those who helped out, including Martin from ICA – lets hope we can keep the momentum up, and see a cleaner brighter future around the corner”

Four members of Emerge subsequently attended the January Group Facilitation Methods course in Manchester.

Join me for ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Plannning training in Brussels!

MG ToPEventbrite - ToP Group Facilitation MethodsEventbrite - ToP Action PlanningI am excited to announce these two new public courses in Brussels in November. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

These courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector; and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  It was following an earlier course with Social Platform in Brussels last December that I blogged Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.

Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days, November 25-26

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

Action Plannning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events – 1 day, November 27

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.

BOOK NOW for Group Facilitation Methods, November 25-26 and Action Planning, November 27 – or please contact me with any questions or for further details.

Facilitation case study: Clinical Leadership Evaluation and Development with Manchester Primary Care Trust

This ToP facilitation case study from the archive was first written for and published in 2008 by ICA:UK.

The ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods are the focus of my upcoming Group Facilitation Methods course in Brussels, May 20-21. The ToP Historical Scan (Wall of Wonder) method features in two of my current projects, Celebrating the development of facilitation – world-wide and history long and Our ETF, a Journey Together. The process design and questions used were structured on the basis of the ORID model of the ToP Focused Conversation method (my ‘universal principle of facilitation‘).


Context

nhs-manchesterEffective clinical leadership is seen as central to the cultural and organisational changes expected of organisations across the health service, in the context of national reforms aimed at creating a patient-led NHS.

When ICA:UK was approached in early 2006, investments had been made in recent years in strengthening clinical leadership within the then South Manchester Primary care Trust (PCT).  These included the introduction of cluster working, and three Cluster Directors, to support extended primary care teams in multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working; and the creation of an in-house Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team, with a Practice Nurse serving as Clinical Lead.  Considerable further change was required and underway, including Agenda for Change and the merger of the three Manchester PCTs (South, North & Central).

Aims

In this context, it was felt timely to involve key stakeholders in evaluating clinical leadership within the PCT, and identifying opportunities and making plans for its further development.  ICA:UK was therefore contracted to design and facilitate a process to meet the following aims:

  1. to begin to evaluate clinical leadership across the PCT in relation to its impact on the organisation and organisational change, including the effectiveness of recent investments in clinical leadership;
  2. to identify opportunities for further development of clinical leadership, and empowering of clinical leaders, toward a culture of leadership within the PCT;
  3. to engage with and involve people in an inclusive and transparent way, that fosters a sense of ownership over the process and its outcomes.

Process

A series of tailored workshops was designed and delivered to meet these aims.  The process drew heavily on ICA’s ToP (Technology of Participation) methodology, notably the ToP Focused Conversation, Consensus Workshop, Action Planning and Historical Scan (or Wall of Wonder) methods.

A series of consecutive half-day Consultation workshops each followed a broadly similar process, but were tailored to engage with and involve three distinct stakeholder groups separately.  This approach was used in order that each group felt able to contribute frankly and without affecting each others’ contributions, and to enable triangulation of the results.  The three stakeholder groups were:

  • the clinical leaders themselves – one workshop for all 15-20 from across the PCT
  • front line clinicians without leadership roles – two workshops for approximately 30, identified by the Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team to be broadly representative of the total of 200 or so within the PCT
  • other key stakeholders with organisational responsibility for leadership – approximately 10-12 including the Education, Learning and Workforce Development Team, the three Cluster Directors and the Executive Director

Consultation workshops outline:

Arrivals & coffee/lunch
Opening & introductions, overview, ‘prouds & sorries’ & expectations
“Wall of Wonder” to map together the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT visually; to share stories & begin to discern chapters, trends, impacts, learnings, implications
Tea/Coffee break
Analysis of factors affecting clinical leadership development – what’s worked and what’s not worked, what supports & what blocks; in small groups followed brief plenary reports
Brainstorming of actions for clinical leadership development – in small groups followed brief plenary reports and prioritising by “sticky dot voting”
Reflection & close

In the event it proved impossible to bring the senior stakeholders together in person for a workshop, and so they were consulted instead by means of an email questionnaire.  The questions were tailored to generate responses compatible with those of workshop participants:

  1. In your experience, what have been 4 or 5 key events or milestones in the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT in the last 3 years? Please include dates (as best as you can).
  2. What are you particularly proud of, and sorry about, in relation to the development of clinical leadership in SMPCT?  Please list a few positives and a few negatives.  Please use examples or anecdotes to illustrate your points if you wish.
  3. In your experience and understanding, what are 4 or 5 key factors affecting clinical leadership development in the PCT?  For example – what do you think supports, and what blocks, the development of clinical leadership? 
  4. What 4 or 5 actions or changes would you recommend to support the development of clinical leadership in the PCT in the future, and address any blocks?  Feel free to suggest simple, one-off tasks or more complex, long-term projects – but please be as specific as you can.

A final half-day Review & Planning workshop was held the following week, for a representative sample of the three groups (approximately 20-30).  This workshop was designed to enable the group to reflect together on the output of the first three workshops, and agree an outline action plan for clinical leadership development within the PCT.

Review & planning workshop outline:

Arrivals & coffee
Opening & introductions, overview & expectations
Review of workshops documentation, questions of clarity; reflection & interpretation in small groups followed by brief plenary reports; writing up key actions on half-sheets, drawing on those brainstormed by means of the three Consultation workshops and email questionnaire
Tea/Coffee break
Action planning – cluster key actions by task forces, self-select into task forces to clarify & schedule actions by quarter, brief plenary reports, leadership & co-ordination
Reflection & close

Outputs & outcomes

The process used was documented in a Process Outline (June 16th 2006), and its outputs were documented in two reports, of the Consultation process (July 6th 2006) and of the Review & Planning (July 26th 2006).

A key outcome of the process was the establishment of four task forces, each comprised of 3-4 members from across the three groups, and each with its remit defined and with a first-draft work plan including quarterly milestones for the coming year and beyond. The remit of the four task-forces were:

  • Growth, Development, Training Opportunities
  • Redefinition & Clarity of Role & Responsibility & Expectations
  • Supporting Systems and Processes
  • Transparency, Communication & Access to Support

According to participants’ end-of-workshop feedback, highlights of the process included:

  • “Liked interactive style – getting up & moving around”
  • “Group interaction helped people to understand other point of view”
  • “An opportunity to speak and hopefully implement change”
  • “Feel process was moved on to something constructive”
  • “Positive actions proposed at end of session to take proposals forwards”

Follow-up process

Seven months on from the workshops, in early 2007, it was clear that the four groups had all met at least once, that their plans had progressed at least to some extent, and that at least some others had become involved.

The context of the work had changed significantly, however, with the merger of the three Manchester PCTs into one from October 2006, and with expectations of increased multi-agency working with for example Childrens’ Services & Adults’ Services, and also privatised services.  A new Associate Director of Services & Development had been appointed, whose remit was to  include clinical leadership development across the new PCT.

ICA:UK was contracted again, in early 2007, to design and facilitate a follow-up process to meet the following key aims:

  1. to engage the four task forces in reporting, and learning from, their progress together;
  2. to document their learnings in a report, including quotes, by which they may be disseminated within the new Manchester PCT
  3. to celebrate the accomplishments of the task forces and bring closure to the project, while sustaining a sense of achievement and potential for applying their learnings – at least as individuals, if not also as Manchester PCT

These aims were met by way of two related pieces of work.  An initial email questionnaire was circulated in February, to all participants and invitees of the process to date, to discern their experiences of the process and their perspectives on progress made, barriers experienced, and learnings.  A follow-up workshop was then held in March, to bring together the four task-forces and any email contributions received with the new Associate Director – to report on and celebrate progress made, to learn from experience, and to consider implications for themselves as individuals & leaders, and for the new Manchester PCT.

The email questionnaire in February comprised the following questions:

  1. As far as you know, what have been 2 or 3 key events or accomplishments that have occurred as a result of last July’s consultation and planning process?
  2. As far as you know, what have been 2 or 3 barriers or blocks that have hindered implementation of the plans made last July?
  3. What have you as an individual learned as a result of your involvement in this clinical leadership development work since last July?  How has that affected you personally, or your work?
  4. What would you identify as the one or two key lessons for the new Manchester-wide PCT to learn from this experience, relative to clinical leadership and its development?

Follow-up workshop outline:

Arrivals & coffee
Opening & introductions, overview & expectations
Evaluating progress – events & accomplishments, barriers & blocks, lessons learned; drawing both on email responses and on insight of those present
Lunch
Key learning messages for the new Manchester PCT – Consensus Workshop to weave together everyone’s insights into a single clear and concise statement
Reflection & Close

The process used was documented in a Process Outline (February 22nd 2007), and its outputs were documented in a report (April 2nd 2007).

The key output of this follow-up workshop was the output of the Consensus Workshop, a clear statement from participants of the 7-month process articulating their “key learning messages” for the new, merged Manchester PCT, from their experience of clinical leadership development:

We recommend that Manchester PCT should…

  • engage at all levels to ensure that structures, systems and behaviours are conducive to demonstrating effective leadership;
  • engage everyone in developing and communicating a shared model of effective leadership;
  • invest in the development of leadership at all levels;
  • support people in taking calculated risks within an accountability framework;
  • support clinicians to identify client needs when developing services;
  • analyse what we have, clarify what we want … and get on with it.

Impact & feedback

Gabrielle Wilson, Public Health Consultant Nurse and the client for the process, wrote:

“The participative methods adopted throughout this work encouraged clinicians, managers and senior stakeholders to engage with the process. Evaluation and feedback indicated that this inclusive and transparent approach was valued by participants, and that clinicians welcomed the opportunity to systematically identify learning messages for the new organisation.”

Christine Pearson, new Associate Director of Services & Development, wrote:

“Although not in post to be part of the initial work, I attended the follow up workshop in March. The style of engagement adopted ensured a participative approach and effective, valuable feedback that will inform future leadership development within the organisation.”

A further indication of the impact of the process may be an increased appetite within the PCT for applying the ToP approach to participation and partnership working.

A further series of Consultation workshops and a Review & Planning workshop were delivered later in 2007, on Management and Leadership Development.  This adapted the format and process developed for Clinical Leadership Evaluation and Development in South Manchester to engage with a cross-section of staff of the new Manchester PCT – to begin to develop a consensus on “a Manchester way of managing”, a core set of leadership and management competencies to deliver this style, and a few priority actions for “quick wins” over the following months.

Since then the approach has also been applied to review and planning “away days” with individual staff teams including the Joint Occupational Therapist Unit of Manchester Equipment and Adaptations Partnership (a joint service of Manchester PCT and Manchester City Council) and the Manchester PCT Interpretation Service.

ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!


Are you interested in taking or commissioning ToP facilitation training – but you don’t find any scheduled public courses to suit you, and you don’t have a group large enough to make an in-house course cost-effective?

I’d be happy to talk with you about scheduling a partnership course with you, at your place wherever you are – please contact me.

If you can provide a suitable space for the training, or perhaps venue & catering and trainer accommodation as well, then you could enjoy free places for you or your delegates. We would only need to recruit enough fee-paying trainees between us by an agreed deadline, to make up the numbers and the budget to confirm the course. Depending on the location and the deadline I may be able to recruit those extra people myself, and handle online registrations and payments. If you can recruit more people from your networks, and if you can handle registrations and payments, then you could have more free places and maybe a shorter lead time as well.

If you choose one of the ‘off the shelf’ courses below, then there will be less risk of cancellation even if you can’t recruit many people yourself. If you have particular training needs and you can recruit others who share them, then we could develop and schedule a course tailored to meet them.

I deliver in English only, and in English with simultaneous interpretation. I draw on the worldwide ICA network to provide ToP training materials in many languages, and to arrange for experienced local ToP trainers to deliver with me (or without me) in many languages.


See also about mehow I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together.

Register now on Eventbrite for my free facilitation webinars, and for my regularly scheduled courses in London and Brussels.

Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training

See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!

I am an ICA Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and a licensed provider and experienced lead trainer of the full range ICA:UK Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training courses – see how I work, and please contact me with any questions or for further details.

the Institute of Leadership and ManagementThese courses are accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management for an ILM Development Award, and participants are eligible for student rate IAF membership representing a 50% discount on their first year’s fee.

Follow these links to see the new course description pages:

I deliver in English only, and in English with simultaneous interpretation. I draw on the worldwide ICA network to provide ToP training materials in many languages, and to arrange for experienced local ToP trainers to deliver with me (or without me) in many languages.

I also draw on my own experience and the wealth of curriculum developed by ICA over many years to design and deliver tailored programmes to help particular groups to meet their learning goals.

Please contact me with any questions or for further details – including how to commission a tailored course for your group and availability of scheduled public courses, in the UK and worldwide.


See also about mehow I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together.

Register now on Eventbrite for my free facilitation webinars, and for my regularly scheduled ToP facilitation training courses in London and Brussels.