10 tips for running a successful committee

Running a committee can be a time-consuming, challenging position, as it requires you to coordinate numerous people who likely have differing opinions and are no doubt juggling hectic schedules. In addition, committees are often asked to do a lot with very little time. The following tips will help you run an efficient, effective committee:

  1. Have an action-oriented, time-limited agenda
  2. Stick to your agenda
  3. Have and use a timekeeper
  4. Don't take your own minutes; it detracts from your ability to control. Ask someone else to perform this function.
  5. Don't defer regular business
  6. If more time is needed, create a task force, have a catch-up meeting, or assign individuals to complete follow-up actions
  7. Don't entertain/permit "grand standers." Instead, try the following:
    • Suggest presenting an off-topic issue next month
    • Offer to discuss ideas after the meeting
    • Suggest researching a new major issue to be put on agenda
    • Explain the topic is not on the agenda, therefore not committee business
    • Note the concern and ask for a memo regarding the issue in a few days
  8. Plan to spend 15 minutes preparation time for each hour of committee time
  9. Learn how to confront difficult people (loud-mouths, wet blankets, whiners, snipers, explosives)
  10. Assess your primary management style through a leadership development course to determine your strengths and weaknesses

Editor's note: The preceding was excerpted from How to Recruit and Develop Physician Leaders: A Strategy for Medical Staff Leadership Development by Richard A. Sheff, MD; Todd Sagin, MD, JD; and Albert L. Fritz, MHA.