How to Accomplish Effective Committees
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In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which
have posts related to effective committees. Scan down the blog’s page to see
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Note that the reader might best be served to first read the topic Group
Dynamics to understand the basic nature of most groups and their typical
stages of development. (It’s not clear at this time if online groups have similar
nature and stages.)
To increase attendance and/or participation in committee meetings, consider
some or all of the following:
- Ensure committee chairs understand and can convey the role of the committee
to members, and that the chair and members have up-to-date job descriptions.
- Ensure adequate orientation that describes the organization and its unique
services, and how the committee contributes to this mission.
- Remember that the organization and its committees deserve strong attendance
and participation. Don’t fall prey to the perspective that “we’re lucky
just get anyone.” Set a standard for the best.
- Have ground rules that support participation and attendance. Revisit the
ground rules every other meeting and post them on the bottom of agendas.
- Let go of “dead wood.” It often help to decrease the number of
committee members rather than increase them.
- Consider using subcommittees to increase individual responsibilities and
focus on goals.
- Conduct yearly committee evaluations that includes a clear evaluation process
and where each committee member evaluates the other members, and each member
receives a written report about their strengths and how they can improve their
- Attempt to provide individual assignments to the committee members.
- Have at least one staff member participate in each committee to help with
administrative support and providing information.
- For board of director’s committees, monitor quorum requirements for the
entire board (as set forth usually in ByLaws), or the minimum number of board
members who must be present for the board to officially enact business. This
quorum, when not met, will serve as a clear indicator, or signal, that the
board is in trouble.
- Develop a committee attendance policy that specifies the number of times
a member can be absent in consecutive meetings and in total meetings per time
- Generate minutes for each committee meeting to get closure on items and
help members comprehend the progress made by the committee.
- In committee meeting reports, include noting who is present and who is absent.
- Consider having low-attendance members involved in some other form of service
to the organization, e.g., a “friends of the organization,” or something
like that, who attends to special events rather than ongoing activities.
- Have a “summit meeting” with committee members to discuss the
low attendance problem, and use a round-table approach so each person must
speak up with their opinions.
- Rotate in new members every year.
Communities of Practice
(about nature of groups, stages of group development, etc)
Problem Solving and Decision Making
and Self-Managed Work Teams
Training and Development
For the Category of Facilitation and Teams:
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.