Philosophy of Facilitating and Skill Building

Future Search facilitators believe that:

  • Every person and every group is doing the best they can with what they have every minute of every day.
  • People do only what they are ready, willing and able to do.
  • People do not have to change their own minds or anyone else’s for a group to discover its common ground and potential for action. 
  • The facilitator’s task is to keep the group whole and working together, not to fix problems, resolve differences, or motivate action.
  • Groups stay whole and develop greater capacity when they discover their real differences in belief, skill, and function, and integrate their capabilities for a common purpose.
  • Groups tend to fragment around differences, whether real or imagined. The facilitator’s job is make sure no person becomes a scapegoat due to a personal trait, feeling, or point of view.
  • Facilitators are responsible for boundaries of time and task, not for content analysis, direction, interpretation, meaning, or synthesis.

People acquire Future Search skills one meeting at a time. Useful skills include:

  • Managing large group dynamics.
  • Letting people struggle. Living with the unfamiliar.
  • Planning with a group that includes skeptics.
  • Trusting people to self-manage tasks without prior training.
  • Stopping action if people fight or flee.
  • Using designs faithful to key concepts and values.
  • Saying “no” to conference requests that defeat the sponsor’s purposes.
  • Working on your own issues around “looking good,” control, stereotyping, rescuing, lecturing, etc.

There are several ways to speed-up your learning:

Managing a Future Search – a Leadership Workshop and Lead More, Control Less – a Master Class in Leadership

  • Co-manage one or more Future Searches.
  • Work with a Mentor.
  • Read everything you can get your hands on.
  • Talk with experienced conference facilitators and participants.
  • Join self-development activities, skill building and personal growth groups.

What is Future Search?

Is There a Future Search in Your Future?

Principles and Conditions for Success


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