Implementing best practice
Many people think 'extra work' when they hear the word best practice and depending on the current 'state' of your committee this might be true in the short term. Some committees are in worse shape than others and over time developed a series of habits that are sometimes difficult to change.
Yet best practice can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best result) way to accomplish a task. This means that whatever effort you need to do to change some things at the base will surely pay off in the long run!
Best practice methods are already successfully implemented in many areas like technology development, project management, construction, health care, etc.
Implementing best practices in the committee and meeting process will benefit you as chair, your committee members and eventually the entire organization.
How to get started?
There is no fixed recipe for implementing best practices nor is there just one preferred way of doing it. Best practices are a collection of techniques and methods that over time have proven with large groups of people to be most efficient and effective. These methods can usualy be implemented one by one, independently of each other. This single step approach is what makes it relatively easy to get started. Many committees are in fact doing some things already but sometimes without a good plan.
The figure on the right illustrates the benefits of implementing best practices in relation to the effort needed to do so. You will notice that in the beginning the benefits are huge with relatively little effort. The more effort you put in, the more benefits you will get out. Every organization and committee will have to find the level they want to reach.
Before your start, you will need to asses where you are and where you can make the most efficient improvements. At regular intervals you should repeat this assessment to make sure you are still on the right track and to evaluate if the improvements you are implementing are really working. It's recommend to do this at least once a year. If your committee has very frequent meetings (E,g, every week) or you want to monitor the initial steps more closely, you can even schedule this every 3 or 6 months. You can combine this with the regular committee self-evaluation that should be part of every committee's schedule.
If you know that your committee is not performing very well you will most likely be near the bottom of the triangle and can realize big improvements with very little work. If you think you are doing pretty well you can use this exercise to double check and confirm where you are.
If you have good advice you want to share or don't agree with some of the techniques or methods discussed in this or other articles, please let us know here.