Starting a committee, what do you need?

A clear purpose

Nothing ruins a committee’s efforts like the lack of a meaningful, clearly stated purpose. Without a clearly stated, reasonable set of goals, the committee will not have the focus it needs to be successful.

A well informed leader

The leader of a committee must realize that the success or failure of that committee rests squarely on his/her shoulders. The primary duty of the leader is to guide the group’s discussions. He/she should encourage every member to participate in the meetings and keep the discussion focused on the matter at hand. Meetings should start and end as scheduled and the agenda should be followed.

The leader is also responsible for encouraging opportunities for interactions between the members. Committee members should be provided the opportunity to get to know each other. Groups tend to work better if the members are familiar with one another. If members don’t get along well, the leader must not allow those members to impede the flow of the meeting. A quick solution is not to allow the conflicting people to sit near each other or in the direct line of fire.

Dedicated members

Committee members should be carefully selected. These are the people who will help resolve issues for the entire organization. They should be somewhat knowledgeable in the area of the committee’s responsibility. Members should be a diverse group without being incompatible. Try to recruit people with different perspectives .

Remind members that they should be receptive and open to new ideas and other people’s opinions as work is accomplished in a committee through the give and take of an open, uninhibited discussion.

Committees are an integral part of every successful organization. A committee with a clear purpose, a well-informed leader and dedicated members is on its way toward success.

Good luck!

more about starting a committee

links to other resources

Before you start...

A committee is not always the best solution...
Ask yourself if your purpose can be accomplished by one or two people (without a group). If so, then do it that way.