Try a “zero-based committee structure”

Wow, what a great idea! A zero-based committee structure – just like zero-based budgeting.  This idea means that every year (or two at the minimum), the nonprofit’s board disbands its committees.  It goes back to the drawing board and re-evaluates what it needs.

All the current committees are eliminated.

And the board decides, based on its current needs and plans, what committees it will need for the next year or two. The board then starts over with a clean slate of committees.

The new committees are based on current organizational strategy and priorities. All members of committees understand that when their work is completed, then the committee will probably disband.

What a wonderful approach! I have worked with too many boards that had dysfunctional committees. Executive Directors would say to me “we have committees but they never meet because there is no work for them.”

Can you imagine anything more dreary than serving on a routine committee that doesn’t have real work to do? A group that meets just for the sake of meeting?  What a terrific waste of time!

Give it a try and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  What will change is the attitude of your board members. They can get excited about projects that are specific and that real time deadlines.

They get easily bored with routine, meeting-for-the-sake-of-meeting work.

Wouldn’t you?

And here’s another idea from the August 3 issue of the Board Cafe (if you are not subscribing to this newsletter, you’re missing a lot of original, fresh ideas on boards and nonprofits).

There’s a great article Boards Should Have Only Three Committees by David La Piana.  Or better yet, check out the discussion of Should Boards Abolish All Committees?” also at the Board Cafe.

Refreshing, practical approaches to a fundamentally important issue: the structure of your board.