The PFP-approach Progress-focused Future-projection Questions
The PFP-approach is a powerful progress-focused tool. PFP stands for Progress-focused Future-projection Questions. This methodology uses a series of five strategically chosen questions that help individuals or teams visualize their future goals and identify the necessary steps to achieve these goals. The power of PFP lies in its simplicity and effectiveness, making it a valuable tool in team and organizational development.
The PFP-approach: sequence of 5 progress-focused questions
The PFP-approach consists of 5 consecutive questions
- Continuation question: Although change is important and useful, it is not wise to change more than necessary. Which things (activities and processes) within the team/organization are already running well enough in your opinion and therefore do not need to change?
- Future-projection question: Suppose we are a year further and the team/organization has had a good year. How would you know that this is the case? So what's different? What could be better then? How would others (students, colleagues, management) notice it?
- Optimism question: Which signals currently indicate that the team/organization can indeed have a good year? What positive indications do you see for this?
- Small team steps: What first small steps could be taken to make this a good year?
- Personal contribution: What can you personally do to contribute to ensuring that the team/organization has a good year?
Why the PFP-approach works
The effectiveness of the PFP-approach has to do with several things.
- By first focusing on what is already working well, the approach recognizes that there are already things going well that support competence and strengthen optimism.
- The specific question about the desired future then encourages participants to think about concrete goals. This stimulates wise thinking and strengthens motivation.
- The demand for optimism helps to see positive indications better and therefore strengthens optimism.
- Then, by emphasizing small, achievable steps, the PFP-approach helps teams move from abstract goals to practical actions. This process of identifying small steps keeps participants from feeling overwhelmed and promotes a sense of feasibility and momentum. Finally, by having participants reflect on their own contribution, the sense of ownership and involvement is increased.
- Identifying personal actions after considering team steps provides a natural and logical progression, linking individual efforts to team goals.
Application in group sessions
The PTV approach works effectively in group sessions, where participants are divided into subgroups. In these subgroups, participants work together on the questions and share their insights. This process not only encourages collaboration and dialogue, but often reveals a surprising degree of agreement and optimism. Even teams that have only existed for a short time can quickly develop a sense of unity and direction through the approach, a crucial step for future progress.
In addition to group applications, the PFP-approach can also be used individually. By having participants answer the questions prior to a session, a facilitator can gather valuable insights into each individual's motivations and expectations. This approach helps identify common themes and areas of agreement within a team, which in turn contributes to a more effective and focused discussion during the session.
The PFP-approach represents a progress-focused approach that enables both individuals and teams to maximize their potential. It provides a structured, yet flexible way to think about future goals, while also recognizing existing strengths and successes. This combination makes the approach a powerful instrument for positive change and sustainable development. I would like to invite you to try out the approach.