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  • jamesarndt13

"Let's set up a committee!" Take cover, your idea is doomed.

Be wary, very wary if a project you are intimately tied to is sent to a committee for further consideration. Your project is on a fast track to its ultimate demise.

Now don't get me wrong, there are times when it is of the upmost importance to get more than one brain involved, I truly believe that two minds are more powerful than one. This power of course can only be productive if the 2 brains are in unison and are aligned to a common goal. So please do not get me wrong. A working group, project team, a cohort, a task force, or dare I say a committee can be very effective and productive. Just as long as the committee keeps the end in mind. Committees who are genuinely focused on completing their objectives and begin knowing the the end is the dissolution of the committee itself can be very effective.

The trouble with committees is that they often times exists to exist. You have all seen this. I am not saying anything that you do not know. They feed upon themselves. They take sustenance from its internal core. The committee meets to have meetings while they incessantly discuss the same topic or topics. If you have not been a member of this committee I applaud you, but chances are more likely that you are serving on one, two, or maybe ten of them right now and you do not even realize it.

How can you tell? During your next committee meeting pay attention to why the committee exists. If you meet, discuss the item, and then set another meeting, guess what: you are doomed. You are in a committee wormhole. Just like a gravitational wormhole. If you are stuck inside one, you are the one who does not know you are stuck. Chances are that most of your team does not realize it either. Now here is where it gets tricky. Sometimes, the chairperson may know that you are stuck in committee, experiencing a long slow death. Hopefully the chairperson is trying to get you out of the wormhole. Unfortunately, sometimes the chairperson is the one that is intentionally stalling the project out.

During my 17 years of executive level leadership I have had the pleasure of being a member and also the chairperson of several committees. Some have been empowering and some have been useless. Some I admit I would attend just to take a mental break during my hectic schedule. Yes, shut down your mind and take an hour off while the committee chases its tail like puppy. Been there and done that!

However, the most dangerous sort of committee is this: one that is summoned from nothingness to consider your project. Hence I end where I began: be very worried if this occurs to you. Too often I have seen great ideas get tragically terminated in this manner. You come up with the cure for cancer and guess what. It is not quite fully baked, so a person in authority altruistically or maybe diabolically suggests that your project be considered by a committee created to help. I am sorry. Your project is doomed. It is just as dangerous if your project is assigned to a committee that exists and has not produced anything on a regular basis except the next meeting date.

Fewer things have fired up my temper more than when I see this occurring to a critical project. Sometimes the motive is pure and other times the motive is driven by the desire to silence the idea. Nevertheless, if you do not do something at this exact point in time you are in jeopardy. What goes into a committee often times never comes out. Stand up, stop the action, take charge of your project and insure that you stop this development. It may help to set up your own committee and personally chair the committee if you need to, but do not let it enter the oblivion of a committee where the chairperson is not committed to the successful completion of the project.

So the next time you have one of your ideas being considered for a committee assignment, simply speak up and say very positively, I will continue to work on it and bring it back for your consideration when it is ready.

We all have seen too many good ideas die in a committee. Let's insure the value we bring to the table gets implemented not lost in oblivion.

Keep shining!

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