Participatory Strategic Planning

Register now on 2018 public courses in Brussels & London via Eventbrite.


Bringing people together to create strategies for action (2 days)

“As a trainer Martin created good atmosphere in an international group. His presentations were crispy clear, illustrated by carefully chosen, practical examples from his rich facilitator experience… Martin helped me to make in my head a big picture of Participatory Strategic Planning session facilitator work and to understand countless details of preparation and running a successful PSP session for various customers.”

Marzena Dębska-Matuszak, Experienced Trainer, Facilitator and Coach

Who this course is for

This course is for all those who want to be able to involve people more effectively in planning and implementing medium to long-term strategies together, including team leaders and managers within organisations, those working with Boards, management teams, partnerships and external stakeholders, youth and community workers and independent facilitators.

Group Facilitation Methods is a pre-requisite for this course, and Action Planning is recommended.

Questions this course answers

“How can I enable my group to come to a common vision for their future? How can I help them make their vision happen by creatively addressing the root causes of the challenges that are blocking them, rather than focus simply on fire-fighting and problem-solving? How can I ensure a real sense of ownership, so that for once their plan actually happens?”

The course presents a structured long-range planning process which incorporates the ToP Consensus Workshop method for building consensus and the ToP Focused Conversation method for effective group communication, both covered in Group Facilitation Methods, and an implementation process for turning ideas into productive action and concrete accomplishments.

Those with more experience of facilitation, strategic planning or ToP facilitation may need no further support to apply the process effectively in their own situations, and for others the course serves as a powerful, experiential introduction to the process.

What you will gain

By the end of the course, you will

  • have enhanced your capacity for creative strategy building by exploring and understanding the four stages and the flow of the Participatory Strategic Planning process, and the four associated types of thinking – visionary, contradictional, strategic and practical
  • be able to identify when and how to use the Participatory Strategic Planning process
  • have consolidated your understanding of the Consensus Workshop and Focused Conversation methods, and gained confidence to use and adapt them
  • have further developed your links with others to promote future collaboration and support in the use of the methods.

ToP Participatory Strategic Planning is a 4-stage process, each stage involving a specially tailored ToP Consensus Workshop process. The four stages are:

  • Practical Vision – what the group would like to see in place in 3-5 years’ time, often preceded by a visualisation exercise.
  • Underlying Contradictions – the obstacles or issues that are preventing that vision from happening, and which must be dealt with in order to move forward
  • Strategic Directions – innovative courses of action that the group can take to deal with the underlying contradictions and move it toward realising its vision.
  • Implementation Plan – a set of practical actions that will start the group’s journey from where it is to where it wants to be. A clear outline of what is to be done, why, how, when and by whom.

This method has been featured in publications including:

See also my own case study of the method in action with an international humanitarian agency in Geneva, “Transformational Strategy: from trepidation to ‘unlocked’“.

Learning style

The course presents the process in a practical and participatory way, enabling the group to experience the complete strategic planning process during the course. Each of the four workshops is first demonstrated, using a scenario with which participants can identify without having to role-play.

What do participants say about this course?

80% of PSP participants rated this course 8/10 or higher. Comments from participants’ end-of-course evaluations included:

  • an in-depth look at advanced use of ToP group facilitation methods for strategic planning
  • provides a great tool to enliven your team and involve them in making commitments to deliver benefits for your organisation – I really enjoyed the course
  • an insightful and inspiring course that opens new doors in facilitating groups
  • this is the best two days you could spend on learning to plan strategically for maximum impact

See also about mehow I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies.

For in-house and tailored training, see ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you! and please contact me. Please do not delay before contacting me – the earlier I hear from you, the more chance that I will be able to help and the more helpful I may be able to be.

Return to ToP facilitation training, including other regularly scheduled courses in London and Brussels.

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