I am hoping you've used an analog watch before. Otherwise, you'll have to know how that works before you continue reading.

In my team, we use a 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock rating system with half an hour increments. In easy terms, 6 o'clock is thumbs down, 12 o'click is thumbs up.

Why? Couldn't you just be normal and use 1 - 10?

Well, we tried. Except 1 - 10 meant very different things to different people. Connecting our rating to a pretty clear and understood rating of clear thumbs up, clear thumbs down, or somewhere in between with the chance to be more refined up to a half an hour increment has made our ratings far more accurate and better understood.

When do we use it?

We use it in many different contexts all the time. For example, we use it to rate candidates when we interview them. At the beginning of a roundtable session to evaluate a candidate and in our written feedback, we start with a clock rating. In fact, at a roundtable session evaluating the candidate, we put our hands up with thumbs pointing at 9 o’clock (a neutral position), count to 3, and then everyone moves their thumb to signal something between 6 - 12 o’clock. The goal of this is to ensure we’re remaining fair and not biasing each other with our ratings as we go through the explanation.

We also use it at the beginning and ending of meetings to share our feeling around a specific plan or discussion. We even use it in 1:1s to get a better and quick understanding before we dig deeper.

Although it takes a few minutes to explain to new team members, especially those who haven't used an analog watch before (yep!), it's a clear standard once explained.