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IDear Workforce-I Why Do Committees Fail

Lack of leadership and lack of management are among the reasons.
January 19, 2000
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Q

Dear Workforce:

Why do committees fail?
Stucker

A

Dear Stucker:

OK, I'm going to resist the temptation to give you a clever answer, such as "let me go hold a conference call on this and get back to you."

Committees fail for lots of reasons. Committees involve a lot of discussing, planning, organizing, brainstorming and reviewing. So almost by definition a committee is not as efficient as one person doing a task and getting it done.

Other than too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen, there are other reasons committees fail. Committees sometimes lack leadership, someone to set a direction. Otherwise, if something's accomplished, it might not even square with the original goal.

Another reason committees fail: a lack of a project manager or committee manager to keep things on task. Leaders can lead all they want, but someone's got to keep things running along.

The flip side, of course, is committees add all sorts of checks and balances, foresight and hindsight often left behind if one person just grinds away at something.

By the way, have you done any digging on this topic in the Research Center (workforce.com/archive) or posted this question in any of the forums (workforce.com/community—you'll probably want the General Forum).

SOURCE: Online Editor Todd Raphael, January 5, 2000.

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