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Fist of Five – What does that mean?

So you use a Fist of Five consensus building technique to make decisions. That’s great! Does everyone in your group know what a five really means?

While reading about building a shared vision in the organization today, I ran across several words that the authors made a particular point to define and distinguish between them. Those words were: commitment, enrollment, and compliant. When discussing a corporate shared vision the distention between these is very important! For to have your organization truly committed to the vision is very different that enrolled in the vision or just compliant with the vision. The author states that real commitment is rare in today’s organizations. In his experience “90 percent of the time, what passes for commitment is compliance” (Senge, 2006).

The committed person brings passion and energy to the endeavor, they don’t play by the rules of the game, they feel responsible for the game itself, and if required change the game to achieve the goals. When multiple people are truly committed there is an awesome force to be reckoned.

The enrolled individual believes in the cause, and will support the effort, but is not going to great personal effort to ensure success. They may be nurtured into the committed camp, but that is not where they are starting from.

The compliant person will go along with the group. They do what is required and expected of them but they are not enrolled nor committed.

How would these words be mapped upon the Fist of Five?

5 – I am committed to the idea.
4 – I am enrolling in the group’s idea.
3 – I will be compliant with the idea.
2 – I do not support the idea as stated, and wish to discuss changes.
1 – I am against the idea as stated – period.
0 – I am not sure I understand the idea and need more clarification.

What does your Fist of Five mean? Is it just a graduated continuum from disagree (1) to agree (5)? If so you may receive deeper meaning and more passionate dialogs by attaching well defined meaning to the fingers. Try it, let me know what happens.

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