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Fist to Five Technique

Facilitation Level


Revitalizing Aitkin!

The Fist-to-Five technique is a simple and quick method for gauging team consensus on a specific decision or proposal. It's a valuable tool for teams because it allows everyone to express their degree of agreement without extensive discussion or debate, making it a time-efficient way to reach consensus. Here's when it might be a good idea to use the Fist-to-Five technique:

  1. Decision Making: When a decision needs to be made, but it's not clear if everyone on the team agrees. The Fist-to-Five technique gives everyone a chance to express their level of support.

  2. Checking Understanding: When a team is learning a new concept or process, the Fist-to-Five technique can be used to gauge everyone's level of understanding.

  3. Evaluating Proposals: When a new idea or proposal is presented, the Fist-to-Five technique can quickly show how much support it has among the team members.

The Fist-to-Five technique is important because it encourages everyone on the team to participate in the decision-making process. It gives each team member at Aitkin County a voice, which can boost morale and encourage open communication. This method also ensures that everyone's views are considered, making it more likely that the team will reach a decision that everyone can support.

Get past analysis paralysis and help your team move forward with a decision, while also making sure that everyone's voice is heard!

Fist (0 fingers): A team member who strongly disagrees with implementing the new tool might raise a fist, expressing concerns about its effectiveness, usability, or potential disruptions.

One finger: Someone might raise one finger if they have reservations or doubts about the proposed tool and need more information or clarification.

Two fingers: A team member could raise two fingers if they are leaning towards agreement but still have some concerns or questions about how the tool would fit into their existing processes.

Three fingers: If a team member feels neutral about the decision, they might show three fingers, indicating they don't have a strong preference either way.

Four fingers: Those who agree with implementing the new project management tool, but have a few minor concerns, can show four fingers to indicate their support while expressing those concerns.

Five fingers: A team member who wholeheartedly supports the proposal and has no reservations would raise five fingers to show their strong agreement.

After everyone has shown their fingers, the team can engage in a discussion to address concerns, ask questions, and share their perspectives. This open dialogue enables the team to evaluate the proposed tool together, consider alternative options, and come to a consensus.


Tip 1: Clearly explain the scale
Ensure that all participants understand the scale used in Fist to Five. Typically, a closed fist represents complete disagreement or strong opposition, while five fingers indicate full agreement or strong support. Explain the meaning of each number on the scale and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Tip 2: Encourage honest participation
Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where participants feel comfortable expressing their opinions honestly. Emphasize that Fist to Five is a tool for gauging levels of agreement, and everyone's input is valuable. Encourage participants to choose a number that reflects their true level of agreement or opposition.

Tip 3: Discuss the results
After participants show their hand signals, engage in a discussion about the distribution of opinions. Encourage those who provided lower scores to explain their concerns or reservations, and allow those who showed higher scores to express their reasons for strong agreement. This discussion can help uncover insights, address concerns, and promote better understanding among participants.

Tip 4: Seek consensus or clarify next steps
Depending on the purpose of using the Fist to Five technique, aim to achieve consensus or determine the next course of action. If there is a wide range of scores, facilitate a discussion to address the concerns raised and work towards a shared understanding or compromise. Alternatively, if there is a clear majority, consider how to move forward based on the results.

Tip 5: Use it in appropriate contexts
Fist to Five is most effective when used for quick decision-making, checking for agreement, or assessing the group's sentiment on a particular matter. It may not be suitable for complex or highly contentious issues that require more in-depth discussion or formal voting processes. Assess the context and the level of importance of the decision before using the technique.

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