“Even though our group approves a decision for implementation, sometimes I get the feeling that there isn’t total support for that decision. Is there a technique that would better ascertain true levels of support before we begin implementation?”
#3: Test for Support
What is Test for Support?
Test for Support is a technique that provides a process for discovering how much true support there is for a decision, goal, or action plan that has already been approved.
One cannot assume enthusiastic support from all group members simply because a decision has been approved by the group. This misguided assumption has been the downfall of many an implementation plan.
The Test for Support technique involves people voting for their specific levels of support for a decision, goal, or action plan. By doing so, a group can effectively measure this support and respond appropriately to secure the consensus required for successful implementation.
When to Use Test for Support
- When you want to clarify the true sentiments of meeting participants
- When a decision or group of decisions has been made
- When you feel you must have full support before moving forward
How to Use Test for Support
- Introduce the Test for Support technique and its purpose. You might begin by saying, for example, “Let’s take a few minutes to discover the true level of support and enthusiasm we have for the decisions we have just made. Sometimes the approval of specific decisions is not enough. If we go forward with a false sense of enthusiasm about these decisions, their implementation will very likely fail.”
- Explain how the technique works. You might say, “I am going to give each of you a piece of paper. Please write your true sentiments about this decision.” Hand out a paper to each participant. Then you might say, for example, “Based on the categories written on this chart, write down the number that best describes your position.” Display on an overhead or chart one of the two following options. Options 1 and 2 are illustrated below.
NOTE: Voting can also be done electronically.
- When finished, ask your participants to fold their papers and pass them to the front.
- Ask a participant near the front to read the scores while you note the number of votes on a prepared chart. Voting charts for both Options 1 and 2 are shown below.
Option 1: Tabulation of Results
Option 2: Tabulation of Results
- Debrief the results of the exercise. You might ask the group, for example, “What are your reactions?” “Given this information, what changes are necessary to insure success?” Ask for information from the group as needed. You may need to ask, for example, “What causes so many of you to be ambivalent?” “What makes you unwilling to spend the time necessary to make these decisions work?”
NOTE: Not everyone will be honest in their responses, but having the discussion will increase your level of implementation success.
- Alter or further examine your decisions if appropriate. Only when there is a high level of support and enthusiasm, move forward in your implementation planning.
Test for Support is a technique for discovering the true level of support and enthusiasm within your meeting group for a decision or plan that is to be implemented.
- Introduce the Test for Support technique and its purpose.
- Explain how the technique works and ask your participants to write down their true feelings based on the choices outlined.
- When finished, ask everyone to fold their papers and pass them to the front.
- Ask a person near the front to read the scores while you record the number of votes.
- Debrief the results.
- Alter or further examine your decisions if needed.
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