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Ever been at a meeting where you asked your team if they agreed or were on board?  You likely got a vigorous nod, a few half nods, several stares, someone who looked at their phone…and then you went on to the next topic, time’s a wastin’.

You now have an expectation that everyone will follow through on the decision, agreement, or action item. Days go by and you’re shocked – how is it that no one is following through?  We all agreed!

But did they?

True, nobody said no and no one disagreed.  Yet, you really only had one yes (the thanks-for-participating vigorous nodder who makes you feel like, yay! — I’m not alone in the world.)

Next time, when you’re seeking to evaluate agreement or commitment, ask everyone to participate in the “Roman Thumb”:

  • Thumb up if you’re on board
  • Thumb sideways if you’re willing to give it a go but have reservations
  • Thumb down if you truly think it is the wrong way to go and could cause harm

You now really know where everyone stands – and so does everyone else.  There’s no hiding.  Either you’re on board, or you’re not.  Own it.

This process is brilliant for stomping out the undermining exchanges that take place after the meeting.

Caution:  You’re not looking for consensus.  You are looking for visible, peer witnessed, commitment and agreement.  You’re also looking to understand and consider reservations.  Of course, discuss further and adjust if the reservations have merit.

Caution: Don’t let one down thumb completely sidetrack the meeting.  If everyone’s willing to move forward except for one person, and their reason is one that is not shared by others, move on and touch base with that individual after the meeting.

Don’t wait–try Roman thumb goodness in your meeting this afternoon.

And check out Culture Works for more great ways to bring about and recognize honest commitment.

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1.6 min readLast Updated: October 12th, 2021Published On: January 25th, 2018Categories: Improve Employee Engagement, Improving Workplace CultureTags:

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