Fist to Five is quality voting. It has the elements of consensus built in and can
prepare groups to transition into consensus if they wish. Most people are accustomed to the
simplicity of "yes" and "no" voting rather than the complex and more community-oriented
consensus method of decision making. This moves a group away from quantity voting to quality voting, which is considerably more informative. Fist to Five can also be used during consensus decision making as a way to check the “sense of the group,” or to check the quality of the consensus.
First, a member of the group presents the details of the proposal. This individual will then answer "clarifying questions" until all such questions have been asked and answered. If appropriate and helpful, the group may then open the floor for discussion or break into small
groups for discussion. (If small groups are used, when the large group is reconvened, time should be allowed for any clarifying questions or comments members would like to include before voting.)
The Initial Vote
Once the proposal presentation is completed, the facilitator will direct each team member to vote by holding up 0 - 5 fingers.
- Fist: No support--will work to block proposal. "I need to talk more about the proposal and require changes for me to be comfortable with it."
- 1 Finger: No support, but won't block "I still have strong reservations and want to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made, but I agree not to block the proposal if approved as is."
- 2 Fingers: Minimal support"I am moderately comfortable with the proposal as is, but would like to discuss some minor issues."
- 3 Fingers: Neutral "I'm not in total agreement but feel comfortable to let this decision or proposal pass without further discussion."
- 4 Fingers: Solid support "I think it's a good idea/decision and will openly support it.
- 5 Fingers: Strong support "It's a great idea, and I will do all I can to promote it."
Once each minority voters has stated their case, another Fist-to-Five vote is held for the final version of the proposal.