Often committees are formed to help executives and senior management answer critical questions about the organization’s goals and future. To be successful, the committee must have leadership that helps the members thoroughly understand and build commitment to answering those questions. Here are some questions that group leaders (both formal and informal) can use to help guide and motivate the group to achieve its goals.
–What is the desired result? Do we have, or can we build and get agreement with our sponsor/customer around, an outline of the desired work product (document)?
–What is “good enough” for success, for the purposes at hand? Who will use the result, for what purpose?
–Who has called for the result, has given the charge to the committee? What are their critical interests, what’s their “bottom line” need or expectation?
–When is the desired result needed?
–To what extent are the product, criteria, and due date flexible? What are consequences of not satisfying those expectations and needs of the chartering person or entity?
–How can the work be distributed among members, including making specific requests of individuals that include due date, desired contents, and quality criteria (what’s “good enough”)? What is each group member ready and motivated to contribute? What does the group need from each of its members?
Each of these questions need continual attention by the committee. A skilled facilitator will encourage the group’s leadership to ask these questions at the beginning of the project to build a common initial understanding of what is to be achieved, and will help the group develop its game plan for producing those results. These questions can also be used throughout the group’s work to help it stay “on course”, to keep its members engaged, and to ensure it stays connected to the manager or governing body that commissioned its work.
What’s your experience with committees and boards, either as a facilitator or a member? What questions, prompts and other techniques have you found effective in keeping the group focused and on-track? What kinds of leadership techniques have worked best for you?