The effectiveness of a committee can be improved if attention is given to the following factors:
Top 10 Ways to improve effectiveness of a committee
1. Duty & Authority should be clearly defined
The committee should have a clearly-stated purpose in unambiguous terms. It should comprise function and scope, responsibilities, authority, and organizational relationships. The purpose should be made clear to all the members beforehand. The duties and the authority of the committee should be defined clearly. Unless all members have a clear idea of the purpose of the committee and the subjects it is to cover, considerable time is likely to be lost in irrelevant discussion.
The committee should know whether it is advisory or whether the decisions are to be final. When decisions are final, there should be an understanding of who will carry them out because it is obviously impractical for an entire group to be responsible for executing any plans.
2. Careful selection of members
Committee Members should be carefully selected, preferably from among persons of equal status, and possessing ability to help fulfill the purposes of the committee. For example, a Salary Committee should be composed of a few highly respected and objective individuals, whereas a Coordinating Committee should include operating executives from different departments to be coordinated.
When representation is important, committees may have to be large. In other situations, there should be a few members and then to invite other people to sit in when subjects of interest to them are being discussed.
Some individuals are naturally incapable of effective membership with subordinates they are domineering; with superiors, they are obsequious; and with peers, they are quarrelsome.
Selection of members must, therefore, be made on the basis of personality differences, ability in expression and status.
3. Understanding the role
The chairman of the committee should understand his role properly, which is that of expediting and facilitating the progress of the meeting. For this, he should possess expert knowledge, experience, and ability to cope with different situations. With his expertise, the chairman can see that discussion is kept on the subject, effective staff work has been done in advance of the meeting, and standard procedures are observed.
4. Size of the Committee
The committee should be of a proper size. If it is too large, many members might not get an opportunity to express their viewpoints, and the situation, at times, may become chaotic. If it is too small, it becomes difficult to secure well-thought-out views. Those committees are ideal where the members range between 5 and 9.
5.Adequate preparation for the committee meeting
There should be adequate preparation for the committee meeting, properly prepared agenda, provision of adequate staff and all necessary facts/data needed, proper setting of beginning and ending time of the meeting, arguments on types of information needed to make a decision, and summary of this information on a standard form, etc. So that the work of the committee is greatly expedited.
6. Open Communication
Committee members should have open communication, and disputes should be tackled and resolved with problem solving approach.
7. Logical procedure should be followed
The committee should follow logical procedures while conducting the meeting so that discussion may be carried on in an orderly fashion and lead to a logical conclusion.
Logical procedure consists of:
- reviewing of the pertinent facts by the chairman;
- analysis of the problem in terms of what caused it, if this has not already been brought about, and determining how committee members feel about it;
- suggested solutions;
- group decision or recommendation; and
- securing of consensus of meeting, either by majority vote, or concurrence by all members, or acceptance of the recommendation of the majority, and recording of the viewpoint of the dissenters.
8. Adequate follow-up is necessary
Minutes of committee should be prepared and distributed to each member and the top executive, in all cases, as early as possible.
9. Constant evaluation of the committee operation
The work of the committee should be constantly evaluated. This is done to find if the committee is operating effectively in terms of the purpose for which it was set up and whether that purpose is still valid. If this is not done, committees often become self-perpetuating.
10. To appoint committee only when in need
If the committees are appointed only when they have a significant role to perform, and if the preceding guides for effective operation are allowed, committees can become an important part of the organization structure of a company.
To sum up, before establishing a committee, due consideration should be given to the benefits and demerits of the committees besides the social setting in which they are required to work.
This will include such things as availability of competent members; their training, background and personality; previous experience with committees and the prevailing attitude towards them; the technique of supervision normally used; and the general operating climate.