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ToP Participatory Strategic Planning

Martin Gilbraith

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 at 09:00 - Thursday, 10 November 2016 at 17:00 (CET)

ToP Participatory Strategic Planning

Registration Information

Registration Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Full rate for private & public sector organisations
Approx €690
8 Nov 2016 £525.00 £0.00
Discounted rate for voluntary organisations & independent professionals
approx €445
8 Nov 2016 £340.00 £0.00

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Event Details

Bringing people together to create strategies for action - 2 days

“The training gave me the confidence to trust the overall power of groups, and my skills in how to get the best out of them. It is readily accessible, and I have used it extensively since attending the course”

Donna Green, Models of Care Co-ordinator, Barnsley Drug & Alcohol Action Team.


This course, in English, is 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 is scheduled back-to-back with ToP Group Facilitation Methods (November 7-8) to allow 2 or 4 days of training at once. If you are interested in the course but do not find dates to suit you, please contact me for alternatives. 


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, the ToP Focused Conversation method for effective group communication, 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


What your fee includes

Your fee includes a comprehensive facilitator's manual and one hour's free telephone coaching after the course. Also included are refreshments, but not lunches during the course and not accommodation. A variety of places to buy a light lunch are available near the venue.


For further details

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

Transfers and Cancellations policy

Course cancellation – with 10 days’ notice. Please note, we reserve the right to cancel any course with no less than 10 working days’ notice, without liability for any consequential or indirect loss. In this case, we will let you know by email and refund your booking with no charge.

Booking cancellation – with over 15 days’ notice. If you let us know by email more than 15 working days before your course, then we can refund your booking less an administration charge of 10% of the course fee.

Booking cancellation – with 15 days’ notice or less. Unless you let us know by email more than 15 working days before your course, we regret that we cannot cancel your booking. In this case the full fee for the course will remain payable and no refund will be made.  Also if for any reason you fail to attend a course that you have booked, the full fee for the course will remain payable and no refund will be made. We are, however, happy to transfer your booking to an alternative participant to attend the course that you have booked in your place. Please let us know as early as you can if you will be unable to attend, and if another delegate will attend instead.

Full payment must be received more than 10 working days before a course to guarantee your place.

Do you have questions about ToP Participatory Strategic Planning? Contact Martin Gilbraith

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When & Where

Social Platform
Square de Meeûs 18
B-1050 Brussels

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 at 09:00 - Thursday, 10 November 2016 at 17:00 (CET)

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Martin Gilbraith

Martin Gilbraith is an independent facilitator, trainer and consultant based in London, UK.  He is a Certified Professional Facilitator of the International Association of Facilitators, and former IAF Chair and IAF Europe Director. He is President of the Institute of Cultural Affairs International (ICAI), an ICA Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and an Associate and former Chief Executive of ICA:UK. He has been facilitating and training, specialising in ICA’s ToP facilitation methodology, since 1986.


Martin's LinkedIn recommendations include:


“Martin trained the Chairs of the CENTR Working Groups on facilitation. The training was tailored to the needs of the trainees and was an excellent opportunity for our Chairs to explore the role of a facilitator and their own role(s) as Chairs. It provided them with valuable tools and techniques to make agenda-setting more efficient and meeting facilitation more effective – some have already been able to successfully implement what they learned. It was a pleasure to observe Martin lead the Chairs through a lot of content in a very light and involving way. I would recommend Martin to anyone who is looking for an engaged trainer and thorough listener.”Nina Elzer, Policy Advisor at CENTR – February 16, 2016


“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”Eve Geddie, Deputy Director at Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) – February 1, 2016


“Martin is a very inspiring trainer, he is very skilled and knows how to facilitate facilitators in a structured and insightful way. I have been able to succesfully use his personal advice and facilitation techniques straight away!”Miriam Elst, Facilitator Design Thinking and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, Lead UX researcher & strategist, Service designer – January 29, 2016


“Martin is a continuous source of inspiration for me. As a facilitator I really like the way he leads the group, and his ability to foster participation, sustain group discussion and achieve useful outcomes. As a consultant and trainer I’m always curious to see how he market his courses and services, how he designs his training and how he uses social media. As a colleague I appreciate a lot the work he does for the facilitators community, and his ability to create opportunities of peer learning and best practice sharing among facilitators.”Gerardo de Luzenberger, Facilitator and trainer – January 28, 2016


For a case study of virtual facilitation with the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) see How engaging can a large facilitated online session be? 


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I work, who I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.


Martin Gilbraith Associates Ltd. is a UK registered company #08583435.


If you are interested in these events and do not find dates or topics that suit you, please contact me for alternatives.

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