For the past two weeks, we have been focusing on standing committees. First Donna added her thoughts about whether they were good or bad. Then Glenn weighed urged us to consider action teams rather than standing committees. But associations that have traditional standing committees, how do you transition to a more dynamic model? Glenn has some advice and a tool to share.
Transition can occur at several scales. Some organizations have abandoned all committees (except a very few standing committees required by the bylaws) and created task forces to execute the other work appropriate for member expertise and experience.
Other associations have maintained their existing committee structure (at least temporarily) and created parallel “action teams” to focus on implementation of key strategic initiatives. Sometimes the membership of existing committees has been used as the talent pool from which to compose new action teams. Other associations have used a more traditional ad hoc task force approach to provide additional opportunities beyond continuing committees for members (often with staff partners) to work on real issues facing the field.
We have observed that the process of committee reshaping is sometimes fraught with politics, passion and emotion. A rational and systematic approach is sometimes needed to overcome resistance to the change (especially among existing committee chairs). Below is a workbook that presents an approach to reshaping committees and task forces that a number of associations have found to be a useful protocol for the discussion.
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