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PAGE CONTENT: Introduction | Facilitation Services | Why Use Our Services | Case Studies




We are usually engaged for the following situations:

  • Planning - developing or revising a business plan
  • Reporting / Review - gaining agreement on contents and recommendations from a working group
  • Problem solving - focusing on an issue that needs group input - ideas, analysis, solutions, prioritisation and agreement, action plans
  • Conflict resolution - getting relevant parties and those affected, together in constructive and at times courageous, conversation.
  • Relationship maintenance - people in business or organisation, occasionally need to make the time and separate place to work on the quality aspect of their relationships as opposed to the continuous focus on the quantative aspects of performance.

Getting agreement on a course of action is the most common outcome of the events in which we facilitate. 

Ian Benjamin is the facilitator described here however we can access facilitators in Australia and NZ to suit your organisation and purpose.

Client Testimonials
"We brought Ian into AMP to assist our internal consulting function develop their skills, relationship management strategies and reputation. Ian is an experienced consultant and we found him a gifted facilitator, trainer and communicator. I recommend Ian highly."
- Andrew Crawford, AMP Services, Sydney, July 2004

"I'm really glad I chose Ian.  This was something very new for us and you managed it very successfully. Thank-you." - Closing address at University Planning Day by Academic Head, Sydney, January 2012 (Referee available on request - Re-engaged 2013)

  • SIGPET (Sydney Institute of General Practice Education & Training) - three consecutive years 2004 - 2006
  • CPA Vic Division Council: annual planning day - 3 consecutive years and invited again in 2003 and 2006
  • Hall & Wilcox - Leading Melbourne legal firm, twice yearly Partner Retreats for 6 years. Also a number of special purpose facilitations.
  • Ian convened and re-established the previously dormant branch of the Brisbane branch of the Australasian Facilitators' Network in 2005.  He has a commitment to the art of professional facilitation.

    Client Testimonial
    "Excellent facilitation of our planning meeting. You involved all parties, knowing when to draw out the quiet ones and when to move on from the more active contributors. You kept the pace moving, provided an effective array of techniques for us to consider the issues, kept us to the agenda and on time. Well done - one of the best facilitators I have seen'.
    - Dr Michael Moore, Managing Director; Kevin Reid, Business Manager, Central Sydney Division of General Practice, March 2003; and re-confirmed, Bowral, March 2004

My approach to facilitation - Ian Benjamin:

"I take care to ensure I am clear on what the client wants to achieve: the purpose of the event and its desired outcomes.

Secondly, I sample expectations, understandings and objectives of participants in the event. This helps set a positive scene and helps build a positive mood on the day.

Thirdly, time is taken to establish what facilitators call 'a sense of community'. This is essential where the event is to solve problems, treat conflict or plan a course of action where each participant is reliant upon the others.

Fourthly, the agenda, always worked out with the client, is practical and designed so that the outcome can be attained in the time allocated.

Fifthly, I endeavour to manage the event so that:

  • It runs to time - starts and finishes on time.
  • It remains focused on the outcome.
  • All participants can have their say. Extroverted participants are useful in getting the event started.  People with a more introverted approach usually have a wise considered opinion after there has been discussion."

Facilitation Services

Planning meetings

  • Work out and then focus on clear objectives
  • Resolve conflicts and issues
  • Enhance teamwork and commitment from all personnel
  • Increase productivity, mobilise participants

    Client Testimonial
    "Thank you Ian for your success in keeping us focused, constructive and on track".
    - Mick Smith, Brand Leader, Case Construction Equipment, Royal Pines, Gold Coast, August 2008.

Special purpose meetings

  • Solve a problem : Merger?  Who to promote as partners? Performance issues.  Managing Growth.  Board cohesion?
  • Develop a clear strategy for a particular purpose
  • Decide on a merger, sale, or significant change of direction

    Client Testimonial
    "Excellent facilitation. You kept us engaged, on the subject and time flew. At the end of the day we had achieved agreement beyond my expectations. Well done Ian (again)."
    - Anne Bambrook, Manager Corporate Services, Director of Student Services, NMIT, July 2007.

Chairing meetings of partners of professional and consulting firms

  • Allows your chair person to be involved
  • Keep to time, keep to the agenda
  • Keep it professional (not personal)
  • Innovative ideas to discuss problems, resolve issues
  • Keeps the event interesting
  • Boosts participant energy levels
  • Increases the value of the exercise

Here are some of the facilitation events Ian has led:

          * indicates multiple engagements

  • Accounting firm - annual Partners and Managers conferences *
  • Accounting firm - marketing planning session *
  • City Club - planning meeting
  • Environmental consulting firm - future directions special purpose meeting
  • Industry Association changeover of office bearers and planning sessions *
  • Industry Association special purpose problem solving meetings *
  • Industry Association professional staff planning meetings *
  • Legal firm half-yearly regular Partners' Meetings *
  • Legal firm annual Partners' Meetings
  • Legal firm Partners' consolidation meeting
  • Large regional firm corporate half yearly planning meetings *
  • Medical organisations' annual planning meeting *
  • Management consulting firm planning meeting *
  • Manufacturing firm special purpose problem solving meetings
  • Management consulting firm special purpose problem solving meeting *
  • University Library Review meetings *
  • Wine maker special purpose problem solving meeting

Why Use Our Services

Experienced, so that you can:

  • Set and accomplish realistic objectives
  • Keep to the agenda - unless it is necessary to achieve the objective
  • Keep to time
  • Enjoy the process - through agenda planning and variation in methods of discussing and treating issues.

Ian is

  • Impartial and independent
  • Quick to think on his feet
  • Sensitive to the mood and the levels of participation. Ian will draw out the quiet people and can manage the high contributors
  • Young enough to have new ideas, old enough not to be intimidated
  • Capable of finding the balance between leading and enabling your people to set the pace
  • Keen to have successful meetings - he will tell you if he doesn't think your objectives can be attained.

Case Studies

Solving growing pains - professional firm
A section within a legal firm was growing very quickly with some destabilising effects.
While the growth meant that revenue and margins were rising, the boundaries of the area were ill-defined. Other sections felt threatened and had there was a risk that if the growth was not soundly based, the staff recruited to that section would be under utilised and the benefits lost.
Working with the leadership group in the firm, Ian developed an agenda to deal with the issues. An appropriate cross-section of the firm partners and other professional and business staff attended a Sunday planning session. Key issues were identified and teased out. Working rules were developed to deal with current and future issues relating to the growth as well as clarifying boundaries at the time. Succession planning preliminaries also surfaced.
The section went onto become one of the three top performing sections within the firm. Succession proceeded orderly and successfully. The meeting became a model for dealing with future situations within the firm.
Facilitating for inclusive policy development - school
A new Principal of an independent school wanted to ascertain attitudes and preferences and the educational philosophy prevailing both within the school community and outside.
How to do this involving 30 committed and passionate people who are leaders in their respective fields.

Working with the Principal who developed the agenda, Ian facilitated the group on the day. Ian's contribution's were

  • Managing the event: - 8 hours, 30 people, 6 agenda items, 3 breaks (lunch and teas). On topic, on time, equal participation.
  • Three activities each hour. For each agenda item, the 9 'panelists' each had up to 3 minutes to address the relevant educational issue eg: "Sport: a winning culture or inclusive participation?". Then there was dialogue across the room amongst the 30 attendees. My contribution was to suggest and then carry out the process of having participants physically lining up - on a scale of 1-10 as to where they saw the school to be now, and then, to move to where they would like it to be in 3 years time. The Principal was then able to intervene and ask questions as to what had been done to effect the move, or why people stayed where they where or why they had moved.
  • On topic, on time, equal participation?
    • Many attendees were passionate about their views and tact with fairness and firmness were required for the group to achieve its objectives for the day.
    • Keeping the group to time: 8 hours including lunch and 2 tea breaks.
    • Ensuring that all the 30 attendees were given approximately equal airtime and were able to make their contributions.
The meeting was successful as it stayed on topic, on time and all participated. The Principal has a record of the excellent contributions and the school community has participated in the process of developing the vision and plan for the school for the next decade.
Facilitating team development - new manager
New manager building teamwork - cooperation, increase engagement and productivity.

The team considered that they had no common purpose other than to service some of the non-core needs of the business. Team members were cobbled together as survivors of down-sizing with low morale, high cynicism and absence of trust in management.

The client and I developed an agenda whereby each attendee was asked to give a 15 minute description of what their position (job) entailed. It included their responsibilities, their interdependencies, their KPI's and how they thought other members of the team may be able to assist them. We also went through the process of setting out a new modus operandi which in time had become the culture of the team. We ran a series of activities which are effective in building some short term trust and they enabled the team members to get to know each other better.
Morale and purpose improved dramatically. The facilitated event became an annual event and was reinforced with monthly activities in the office. Engagement as measured by the company benchmarks increased significantly and other sections of the business copied the model.

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