Leadership Nudge® 142 – Fist to Five

March 1, 2017by Sandy Wilmer

Binary questions only allow for two answers. When you say “Raise your hand if . . . ,” it can be be difficult to understand what a person is thinking. Instead, Leaders can use Fist to Five to expose thinking. Watch David explain this tool.


Today’s tool is called Fist to Five. And it’s a substitute for those ‘raise your hand’ kind of questions. So instead of saying, “Raise your hand if you support this initiative,” which is binary, and what will happen is you’re going to get some people raising their hand, some people not raising their hand, and some people who just don’t participate. And you don’t know whether people not raising their hands 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, everyone’s got their hand up, and they’re all showing you, you know, fist, one, two – 1, I kind of barely support it, two, three, I agree pretty strongly or I’m really enthusiastic about this.  

Now, this does a couple things. Number one, it invites more participation. And number two, it lets you see in a more nuanced way, the spread of feelings throughout the room.  

And so then what you do is you say, Okay, you look around and say, “Oh, okay, people with a fist share with us what you’re seeing, what you’re thinking about, why you don’t support this. And then people with five, and so we’re going to embrace that. So get away from “raise your hand if” and use Fist to Five instead.  

I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge. 

Sandy Wilmer

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Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311