Characteristics of ineffective or “bad” committee meetings

Ineffective, unproductive or simply “bad” committee meetings are very easy to recognise because they have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • they feel like the meeting goes forever but nothing was actually achieved
  • conversations drag on, bouncing from one point to another with little focus on the issue to be discussed
  • conflict occurs regularly with committee members often being accused of having their “own agendas”
  • nobody really understands what each other is doing and often feel they are the only person doing any work
  • nobody, except the Treasurer, has any idea on the financial position of the club and no matter how many times people request financial information it doesn’t appear, or if it does it is simply a bank balance
  • people turn up to the committee meetings with little idea on the topics to be discussed
  • a small majority of the committee members dominate conversations
  • anybody with a contrary view to the dominant committee members are made to feel like they are trouble makers
  • new ideas and concepts are rarely listened to or embraced
  • no effort is made to induct and train new committee members, assuming they should just learn on the job
  • contributions of newer or younger committee members are not respected
  • a small group of committee members, often the “executive committee” make all the decisions without reference to the broader committee
  • committee meetings have little or no leadership from the chairperson
  • little, if any information is circulated to the committee members prior to the meeting
  • meetings are scheduled at the very last minute around the availability of a select few
  • no decisions are recorded in formal committee meeting minutes meaning that people forget what they commit to and subsequently the task is not completed
  • people are not held accountable to their promises or responsibilities
  • the club will not have defined goals so it will drift along without the committee adjusting its plans to maximise their opportunities
  • committee will not delegate tasks and responsibilities to those outside the committee
  • little or no communication between the committee and club members
  • poor decision making processes, with little or no debate on alternative options
  • no consideration of risks or what could go wrong

Overwhelmingly, committee members who leave committee meetings feeling their time has been wasted and their opinions and contributions not valued are unlikely to continue as committee members into the future.

Effective, strong and disciplined meeting processes will ensure that committee meetings are highly efficient, productive and creative gatherings that maximise the knowledge and skills of the individuals.

What is a committee meeting and why do we need them?

Before we consider what a committee meeting is, why we need them and how to run a committee meeting effectively we should quickly reflect on what a club committee is, its roles and...

Read More