Committees and How to Make Them Not Work.

December 9, 2011

This week Midori and I had the honor of facilitating a meeting for a group of association education directors.  One of their challenges is getting feedback from committees. This problem is not unique to this group. If you have ever served as volunteer you know that the dynamics are always interesting.  There are the people who are overbearing and always have something to say. There are people who have great ideas, but don’t speak up. There are people who apologize for missing every call or meeting, but they don’t want to resign. Committees come in all shapes and sizes and association executives (or even those herding corporate committees) know that sometimes all you hear from committees are crickets. 

Are there solutions to the age-old problem of making committees work? In order to get to the right answers, we thought it would be fun to take a look at things from another angle. If you ever played “opposite day” as a kid, you will appreciate this list.

Seven Way to Get Your Committees to NOT Talk to You

  1. Don’t provide committees with an agenda.
  2. Send out a committee meeting announcement at the last minute.
  3. Never, ever respond to committee member emails.
  4. Listen to the ideas of only one person. Bonus points if it’s the most abrasive committee member.
  5. Schedule committee calls at 5pm on a Friday.
  6. Don’t record any calls or share notes from previous calls.
  7. Never share the organization’s goals with the committee.

Once you take a look at what not to do, it really open up some ideas of what might help stimulate some conversation with committees and spark creative ideas.   Have you ever tried reverse brainstorming? Were you able to find answers in your attempt to discover the UN-Solution?