team just sat there. Even when the facilitator is spot on (and this one wasn't), the team most likely will reject the facilitator's view. It's like criticizing your brother-in-law; it's fine for your spouse to say his brother drinks too much, but watch out if you say it.
Some retrospective leaders protest that it takes too long for the group to process the data-that it's more efficient for the facilitator to do the job. It may be true that it takes less time for the facilitator to relay her own interpretation of the data to the group, but it's only more effective if the facilitator doesn't care whether the group actually buys into and acts on the interpretation.
5. Test for Agreement
Groups can go on and on discussing issues, mulling over concerns, and answering questions. It's important to have a thorough analysis, and it's also important to come to a decision. So after the team has asked clarifying questions related to a decision, test the agreement.
Testing for agreement isn't the same as making a final decision. Testing for agreement creates a data point and an assessment of how much more discussion is really needed. One way to test for agreement is by using the "Fist of Five." Each person signals her support for a proposal or option by utilizing a six-point scale, which requires no ballot other than the use of your hand. The votes are as follows:
Five fingers = I strongly support
Four fingers = I support with minor reservations
Three fingers = I'll go with the will of the group
Two fingers = I have serious reservations
One finger = I do not support
Fist = I'll block
(I advise against using the middle finger to indicate lack of support.)
If everyone in the group expresses strong agreement (four or five fingers), you know that you need to note reservations and mitigate risks. But the group probably doesn't need a lengthy discussion of the topic. However, if there's only lukewarm support (three fingers), then more discussion is warranted-possibly to identify more favorable alternatives.
If most of the people in the group show three fingers or less, it's time to move to a different option rather than wasting time discussing an option no one wants.
Practice these tips, and pretty soon people will notice that meetings seem to work better when you lead them.