Saturday, November 19, 2011

Committees don't work

It doesn't surprise me at all that the 'Super-Committee' that was suposed to be coming up with a way to shave $1.5 billion from the national deficit is going to fail. This bi-partisan Congressional committee was doomed from the start.

Committees usually fail.

It has been said that a "Camel is a horse, designed by committee".

All too often, leaders that are undecided, faced with a difficult task and usually unwilling to make a decision will choose to delegate the decision making to committee. Committees, by definition, require a group. They are subordinate to the governing body or leader that appointed them and because the decisions, recommendations and findings are the responsibility of the group and not any individual, personal accountability is avoided.

Many are familiar with the phrase "Death by Committee". In order to avoid major problems in decision making here are three short pieces of advice:

1) Avoid forming, serving on and embracing committees. If deliberation and investigation is necessary, make it the responsibility of one person who can assemble a team to carry the load.

2) Don't confuse collaboration with the need for a committee. Teams often collaborate and all good leaders are collaborative. Collaboration adds value.

3) Make the hard decisions and own them. Difficult decisions are unpopular but that is when true leaders step forward to move organizations and movements forward.



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