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Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!

In the 2007 book “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There! Ten Principles for Leading Meetings That Matter,” Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff – creators of the Future Search method – offer ten principles that will allow you to get more done in meetings by doing less. The key is knowing what you can and can’t control. You can’t control people’s motives, behavior, or attitudes. But you can control the conditions under which people interact, and you can control your own reactions.

Based on over 30 years of experience and research, the authors show exactly how to establish a meeting structure that will create conditions for success, efficiency, and productivity. Equally important, they offer advice for making sure your own emotions don’t get in the way – for knowing when to “just stand there” rather than intervene inappropriately, unproductively, or futilely.

The book shares what Weisbord and Janoff have learned in 20 years of leading meetings together in cultures around the world. The principles outlined in the book apply to all kinds of meetings.

Here’s the chapter list:


  • Get the Whole System in the Room
  • Control What You Can, Let Go What You Can¹t
  • Explore the “Whole Elephant”
  • Let People Be Responsible
  • Find Common Ground
  • Master the Art of Subgrouping


  • Make Friends with Anxiety
  • Get Used to Projections
  • Be a Dependable Authority
  • Learn to Say “No” If You Want “Yes” to Mean Something
  • Conclusion: Changing the World One Meeting at a Time

Note that one of the Future Search Network’s two primary trainings is based on this book:

Leading Meetings that Matter
Leading Meetings that Matter presents a philosophy, theory and method for transforming diverse work groups of all kinds. This seminar, integrating system change and personal growth theories is for experienced leaders who want to increase their capacity to help large, diverse groups stay task-focused and accomplish ambitious goals. Future search experience is not necessary for this workshop. This workshop runs one afternoon, one full day and one morning.

Dues-paying NCDD members receive a huge 30% discount off of the regular rates for this training as well as FSN’s “Managing a Future Search – A Learning Workshop.” You can look over all of our discounted trainings at www.ncdd.org/discounts, or go to the Future Search Network site at www.futuresearch.net to read more about these two trainings.

Resource Link: www.amazon.com/dp/1576754251/ref=nosim/?tag=futusearnetw-20

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