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Creating sustainable outcomes

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction.”  
E. F. Schumacker

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Successful facilitation is about generating sustainable outcomes for the parties involved. 

It is far more than merely keeping a group on track during meetings with their agenda and note-taking. Skillful facilitation results in well run meetings and events, especially those involving strong personalities, strong emotions or considerable tensions.  It requires the facilitator to actively work the group to give them their best shot achieving their stated and agreed objectives. 

Some of the areas we are called on to provide facilitation include:

  • Implementing organisational change
  • Business visioning and strategy development
  • Improving stakeholder relations
  • Resolving Conflicts
Good facilitation

Good facilitation requires:

  • Establishing the ground rules (behaviours, procedures and boundaries of the discussion)
  • The ability to read and analyse group dynamics in order to guide the group in a productive way
  • Skilled questioning to get good answers without defensiveness.  This means also having the ability to probe for more information when the initial answers are not sufficient.
  • The ability to map progress and give feedback on consequences.

Example projects

Gulf Communities Agreement

The Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) was one of the first agreements settled under the “rights to negotiate” provisions for mineral exploration in Queensland. The agreement is between the 12 Native Title Groups, the Queensland Government and the mine owners. Section 63 of the Agreement requires a review every 5 years.  The 2002 review was never finalised and shortly after resulted in a sit-in at Century mine.  The review process required extensive consultation with all stakeholders and an ability to reach consensus on what needed to be undertaken by each of the parties to progress the spirit and intent of the agreement as well of each of the numerous articles contained within it.

Outcome. Consensus on all 18 Recommendations by the 34 member Stakeholder Steering Committee. The report has been lauded by Nicholas Rothwell of “The Australian” as having “refreshing candour”.  And Professor David Brereton (Director, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining) was “particularly impressed by how the report was written and presented.  It serves as a model for researchers on how to communicate with community and corporate audiences.”

Taking Stock and Setting Direction, the Australian Table Grape Industry

This assignment required extensive industry consultation across a fragmented industry sector, assessing its corporate, structural and human capacity to operate in a unified manner in a global marketplace.  It also required thorough industry analysis, economic assessment and strong recommendations for its future viability.

Outcome.  This project cut through factionalism that was threatening the very existence of the industry Association.   "I cannot speak highly enough of Jill's abilities. She understands people and understands how to strengthen our individual skills. Her involvement with our industry has taken us to new levels." Nick Muraca. President, Australian Tablegrape Growers Association. 

Compost Supply Chain Roadmap project

Organisations. This project was for undertaken for a consortia managed by the Waste Management Association of Australia. The other two parties were the Barton Group and Compost Australia (a division of the Waste Management Association of Australia). 


Project scope.  The project was the first examination of the entire Recycled Industry from policy intervention in supply management through local governments, processors, advisors and end-users.  It required extensive industry consultation through focus groups, workshops the preparation and facilitation of 5 national conferences and the post-reporting through the conduct of 15 regional workshops to sector stakeholders.

  Project outcomes.  This project generated significant outcomes for the industry.  They included:
  • Recognition for the first time, the role of Government as a supply chain partner in supply management
  • Providing impetus for a self-directed and ongoing R&D committee (these have continued up until the present time)
  • National liaison between the States to fund an Industry Project Officer to reduce duplication (a first)
  • Improved marketing and standards programs with coordination between the States and processors (again a first)
  • Perhaps most importantly, the launching of the "roadmap" by Minister Macfarlane and ongoing support from the Federal Government for integration of Recycled Organics into the rural landscape.
 “On behalf on the organising committee of Compost Australia, I wish to congratulate you on your management of the Compost Supply Chain Roadmap project….As I suspect you have become keenly aware during the rollout of the project, we are an industry with passionately held views on all sides of the debate, and without doubt your management of the issues and their associated discussion, have resulted in a much greater understanding and sympathy towards the views of other, often opposing sectors of the industry.  Rob Niccol, Deputy Chair, Compost Australia (a division of the Waste Management Association of Australia).


Jill Rigney
Jill Rigney - TRM Facilitator

“Jill has facilitated a strategic planning exercise for the Queensland Regional NRM Groups Collective. This organisation comprises of 14 CEOs and Chairs from independent organisations who are highly motivated and passionate about NRM and accordingly challenging to facilitate. Jill facilitated a very satisfactory outcome from this group in a concise non threatening manner to the mutual satisfaction of all participants. I have no hesitation in recommending Jill as a competent professional facilitator”. 

                       Andrew Drysdale, CEO
QLD Regional NRM Groups Collective