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. Fist to Five introduces the element of the quality of the "yes." A fist is a “no” and any number of fingers is a “yes,” with an indication of how good a “yes” it is. 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.

Fist to Five is accomplished by raising hands as in voting, with the number of fingers raised that indicates level of agreement.

  • A fist means, “I vote NO." or in consensus it means , "I object and will block consensus (usually on moral grounds).”
  • 1 finger means, “I’ll just barely go along.” or, “I don’t like this but it's not quite a no." or, “I think there is lots more work to do on this proposal.” In consensus this indicates standing aside, or not being in agreement but not blocking the consensus.
  • 2 fingers means “I don’t much like this but I’ll go along.”
  • 3 fingers means, “I’m in the middle somewhere. Like some of it, but not all.”
  • 4 fingers means, “This is fine.”
  • 5 fingers means, “I like this a lot, I think it’s the best possible decision.”

Read the full article on fist to five at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.