The Dangers of a Committee

Let’s build a committee—for example, a steering committee or a board. They can help us make the right decisions.

What is the purpose of the committee? How does their individual and collective purpose align with the purpose of the enterprise?

What is the risk profile of the committee? Will they be entrepreneurial or exceedingly safe? How do you ensure a committee is making innovative decisions that match the purpose of the enterprise, rather than protect the committee members? The decisions will fall to the average, which means that if you do not select your committee wisely, they will take you backwards, not forwards. Average is entropic. Life is emergent. 

How is the responsibility built in? If a decision is made, who is responsible? Is the precession of this – the side effect – that no bold decisions are made?

Does the committee as a whole have the capacity to hold both the systems view and the granular view? Are they fluent in complexity? Are they visionary? 

Where do they spend time as a committee? Handling the present, or focusing on the long term? Reactionary or visionary? 

What influences their decisions, other than risk? Status? What will their peers say? 

What is in it for them? Each one of them? In Syntropic World we use the Synergistic Audit to ensure we know what people expect for their time, energy and commitment.

When there are polarising ideas, how are the decisions made? How transparent are the polarising ideas to those at the effect of the design? Is it a majority vote? Or is there another way that polarity is calibrated? 

What is compromise? What is resolution? 

Who holds the power in the committee? This can change based on various contexts. Influence, experience, risk, threat, coercion – these all live in committees.

If you want to create a committee, think long and hard about why, who, how and when. Get the design right, or you will spend your days in the agony of a bad committee.

Photo Taken July 6th 2024