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Ron Passfield

Executive Consultant

  • Coaching for Executives and Managers
  • Leadership Development
  • Organisation Development
  • Change Management
  • Action Learning
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Organisational Learning and Innovation)
  • Masters of Business Administration (Org Change & HRD)
  • Bachelor of Business (Accountancy)
  • Cert IV Workplace Assessment & Training
  • Action Learning and Action Research Association, Life Member

Career Details:

Ron is currently a Director and an Executive Consultant with Merit Solutions.  He also collaborates with Julie Cork and Associates in the delivery of action learning based leadership programs.  Since 1990, he has consulted as a coach and mentor in leadership, culture and organisational change.  Ron was a fulltime lecturer in human resource management and organisational behaviour at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Griffith University for more than a decade.

Previously, Ron specialised in human resource management and change management during a 20 year career in the Australian Public Service.  Over this time, he held many managerial and executive positions in five Government Departments up to senior executive service level as Director, Corporate Services for the Department of Social Security (Queensland and N.T.)  Since leaving Griffith University, Ron has maintained a role as an external academic supervising PhD and Masters students using action research for organisational change.  He is regularly engaged as an external examiner of action research based theses.  Ron is an Adjunct Professor of Management with the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) in Adelaide which is an action learning & work-based learning educational institution.

Action Learning

Ron has a thirty year track record with action learning. He has facilitated learning sets focussed on reflective practice in a wide range of settings including with facilitators, project managers, researchers and executives. Ron designed and facilitated an award-winning action learning program for the University of Queensland. Conducted over 9 years, this program became the major source of innovation in the University of Queensland and was judged as best practice by the National Committee for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. It also became the subject of Ron’s PhD in which he developed a model for sustainable capacity building in organisations. Ron has also used action learning in major national change programs (discussed in more detail below). With Anne-Marie Carroll, Ron designed and led specialist workshops in the design and facilitation of action learning.

Ron is a Past President of the Action Learning and Action Research Association and has a global profile in this field. He has facilitated workshops on action learning and action research across Australia and in New Zealand, PNG, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Colombia.

Learning and Development

Ron has extensive experience in the design and facilitation of leadership and management programs designed to improve performance, foster innovation and deliver significant organisational outcomes.   Recently with Julie Cork and Associates, Ron has facilitated and contributed to the ongoing design of numerous programs.  These 4-6 month programs comprised monthly workshops, followed by workbased practice of people skills and public presentation of the outcomes of a concurrent action learning project undertaken to improve some aspect of people management in the participant’s organisation.

Ron has co-facilitated 50 programs across 12 Queensland Government Agencies in locations from Roma (far West) to Cairns (far North).  Participants have included professional and technical specialists, middle managers and senior executives focussed on improving management skills or making the transition to management.  He has delivered modules on giving and receiving feedback, managing staff performance, change management, managing upwards, managing an intergenerational workforce, mindfulness in leadership and coaching/mentoring.

Organisational Development & Change Management

Ron has a track record in conducting organisational reviews using interviews, focus groups and other data for diagnosis.  He has worked collaboratively with senior executives to design and execute interventions which have achieved substantial and ongoing improvements.  Ron has led major change initiatives with national or state-wide reach.  For example, he was engaged for 18 months on a consultancy basis to build the flexible learning capacity of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in Queensland. Working with school teachers, TAFE teachers and private providers, Ron led a series of workshops, provided ongoing coaching and established an on-line strategy to share experiences, reflection and research into international best practice in this field.

Previously Ron was engaged for four years by the former Australian National Training Authority as National Change Management Facilitator.  He worked with senior managers from TAFE Institutes around Australia and some private providers who were developing whole-of-organisation change management plans to build the flexible learning capacity of their respective organisations.  The groups of executive managers operated as action learning groups and Ron’s facilitation involved one-on-one meetings, face-to-face workshops, online conferencing, teleconferences and ongoing mentoring.

With the Australian Taxation Office, Ron was National Change Manager for a major technological and cultural change program.


Ron has coached and mentored executives, managers and organisational development consultants as an executive manager, as a supervisor of PhD and Masters students using action research for organisational change and as an external consultant. Ron’s significant coaching and organisational consulting achievements include:

  • External consultant and member of the Program Team responsible for the design, facilitation and evaluation of the University of Queensland action learning program (6 years) – included coaching project teams and individual senior managers in the development and implementation of action learning projects involving substantial innovation and change
  • As National Change Manager for the implementation of online learning in the TAFE Sector coached senior managers in TAFE Institutes around Australia who were responsible for developing a whole-of-organisation change management plan for their respective organisations (4 years)
  • As co-facilitator conducting more than 50 longitudinal action learning based, leadership development programs within the Queensland Public Service, provided ongoing coaching support to individual participant executives and managers in relation to applying their learning, addressing specific challenges and progressing their action learning projects.

Ron adopts an action coaching approach with a focus on helping managers and executives to achieve real personal development and organisational outcomes. He is particularly interested in helping executives achieve personal development through taking action for organisational improvement while building the capacity for personal reflection – the hallmark of a true professional. More recently Ron has focused on developing mindful leadership in line with the global mindfulness movement designed to help executives to develop calmness, clarity, creativity and improved personal productivity.

Other Achievements

Ron is a passionate advocate and skilled user of social networking and new web technologies to support knowledge transfer and learning.  He has applied these techniques within Merit Solutions, in his work with the VET sector and for special projects with a range of clients.

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