Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

September 16, 2021

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Jannice Moore

7 Tips for Creating Board Committees

Should a board have committees?  It depends.

How many committees should a board have? It depends.

It depends on whether the committees will interfere with the accountability of the CEO.

It depends on whether those committees will help the board or hinder the “holism” of the board. 

Here are a few quick tips if you are considering creating a board committee:

  1. DO create a board committee if the task planned for the committee is to help the board do one of its own jobs.
  2. DON’T create a board committee to help the CEO or staff reporting to the CEO with something that has been delegated to the CEO.  Also, don’t appoint board members to the CEO’s operational committees. Both of these actions interfere with the board’s ability to hold the CEO accountable for results.
  3. DO create a board committee if the value added by the committee will assist the board as a whole in making a better or more timely decision.
  4. DON’T create a board committee that comes to feel it “owns” a particular part of the board’s work.  This can damage the ability of the board as a whole to apply its collective wisdom to a decision.  Simply rubber-stamping a committee’s opinion is not sufficient.
  5. DON’T assign board members to a committee and then tell them to return to the board with their Terms of Reference or Charter.  The board should be clear about what results it wants from the committee before appointing members to it.
  6. DO provide a committee with a clear specification of the results the board expects, and when they are due.  Ideally, ask for options and the implications of each option, rather than one recommendation.
  7. DO be clear about how the committee chair will be selected – is the board appointing a chair, or will the committee select a chair from among its members?

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