Fist or Five or In Between

This is a post from David Marquet, author of “Turn the Ship Around.”

Leadership Nudge – FIST TO FIVE

Today’s tool is called “Fist to Five”. This tool is a substitute for those “Raise your hand if…” kind of questions.

Saying “Raise your hand if you support this initiative” is asking a binary question. With a question like that, you’re going to see some people raising their hand, some people not raising their hand, and some people who just don’t participate.

Now, you don’t know if the people not raising their hand are just not participating, or whether they’re actually against the initiative.

So, instead do this:

“Everyone raise your hand. Now show me, from fist to five, how much you support this initiative.”

“Fist: If you’re really, really strongly against it.”

“Five: If you’re really, really strongly for it.”

Now, when everyone has their hand hand you will be able to see:

  • Fist: “I don’t support it.”
  • 1-2: “I barely support it.”
  • 3-4: “I’m pretty strongly for it.”
  • 5: “I’m really enthusiastic about this.”

This does a couple things:

  1. It invites more participation.
  2. It lets you see in a more nuanced way the spread of feelings throughout the room.

So, then what you do is you say: “Ok, people with the fists, share with us what you’re seeing or thinking. Why don’t you support this?”

Then ask people with fives the same: “Tell us what you see or think. Why do you support this?”

This way, we embrace the outliers.

So, get away from “Raise your hand if…” and use “Fist to Five” instead.

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