How to Design a Better Committee Experience
The work of Committees brings value to an organization; they allow dedicated groups of people to use their passion and expertise to contribute to specific initiatives.
Designing a Better Committee Experience
- Often, Committees are made up of volunteers or those doing committee work off the side of their desk.
- Members have joined a committee because they are driven by their passion for the committee goals, and possess background or knowledge of the subject matter.
- Running a Committee requires a host of skills including management, administration, budgeting—skills that volunteer participants may not necessarily possess.
If committees aren’t well-thought-out and supported, they won’t function well. If committees don’t function well, members will not have a good experience. And if members don’t have a good experience working as part of a committee—they won’t return.
Through observation of working with organizations running committees, the top issues facing committees are:
- Lack of clarity on the objectives they are trying to meet
- Lack of understanding on how decisions are made
- Not enough support or resources to keep the committee functioning
What happens if poorly designed committees are not supported?
Committees: There is hope and the answer is fairly simple
We work with a client who performs a great deal of work through their participatory committees; the members are made up of people who contribute their time because they believe in the work of their committee.
Here is our challenge when tasked with helping committees function:
How can we design a better committee experience to meet the committee objectives, and those participating on committees enjoy their time and learn valuable skills?
Let’s address our findings and get back on the right path, shall we?
|Strategies to Correct
|Lack of clarity on the objectives the members are trying to meet
|An objective or statement of goals is one option. But are they SMART? Help the committee set goals that are easy to understand and work towards
|Lack of understanding of how decisions are made
|Set roles and rresponsibilities early. Determine how decisions are made and follow a process
|Not enough support to resources to keep the committee functioning
|Committees need to do an honest inventory of the skills required to do the work, and identify the gaps. What is needed? What help do you require?
We all need someone to check in on us and see how we’re doing. Initiate support calls for committees to identify stumbling blocks, and provide help
We help Committees:
- organize themselves so it’s clear what they are all marching towards
- provide tools and templates to support the work they do so they’re not starting from scratch
- offer support as needed from the early days of planning, through to carrying out the work, and debriefing progress made
- help identify next steps and roadblocks so that we may clear the path to continued success
Here’s is what a well-designed committee experience can look like:
|Committees struggle to determine how to work together, too much time is spent sorting out ‘who does what.’
|Committees get help determining how they will work together and have clear roles.
|Meeting time is sucked up figuring out how to execute the plan.
|The valuable time together is spent on planning and executing work.
|Committee members become disenchanted with the work which has quickly become unfulfilling and a time-waster.
|Meeting time is used effectively because they have templates for agendas, action plans, and next steps.
|Committee experiences turnover and more time-wasting bringing a new team back on track.
|Committee members see progress, get help when needed, and momentum carries on to the next set of goals.