Attributes of Successful Groups and Committees

Successful committees or groups have:

  1. A mission statement. A committee needs a clearly defined mission. It should be expressed in an easy-to-understand statement of 25 words or less.

  2. Process for setting goals and objectives. A committee should set goals for the future. Objectives should be stated in specific, measurable terms.

  3. Committee recruitment procedures for stable yet renewing leadership. Does the committee or group have a high turnover or dropout problem?

  4. Fewer than 18 people. If a committee seems too large and there are valid reasons for not reducing it, a subcommittee structure or task group should be used to undertake specific projects (15-18 is a good number).

  5. Sufficient skills, diverse community interests and perspectives. A variety of member skills is needed to carry out the committee's mission effectively. Diverse community interests are needed to ensure proper representation.

  6. Members' talents are fully utilized and their contributions recognized. Committees often don't take advantage of their members' potential contributions. Also, committee members' contributions should be mentioned during meetings and noted in newsletters and press releases from time to time.

  7. Ability to give committee members substantial responsibility. In order for committee members to have a chance to exercise leadership, agency staff need to give them enough latitude to help make program decisions and initiate activities.

  8. Decisions that represent feelings of the group. It is important that decisions result from discussions representing the different perspectives and interests on the committee.

  9. Opportunities for members to learn new things. Committee members should be represented with opportunities to improve their organizational skills and knowledge of water quality issues. Educational activities could include calling in resource people to committee meetings or sending one or more members to a conference or workshop.