Friday, September 29, 2006

What's a Steering Committee do?

Some confusion exists about what a church Steering committee is and what it does. Below are some hopefully helpful explanations:
  • The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Steering Committee as, "A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage."
  • A business planning company describes a Steering Committee as, "A cross-functional executive group that sets overall parameters and provides high-level project guidance by interaction with the project leader, milestone status review and approval of resource requirements."
  • The Government Accounting Office defines an Executive Steering committee as, "The top management team responsible for developing and sustaining the process management approach in the organization, including selecting and evaluating reengineering projects."

These all seem to clearly indicate that a Steering Committee or Executive Steering Committee does not get "down in the weeds" in regard to the organization's activities. The members of a Steering Committee don't "mess with" the committees of a church, for example. Rather, like the rudder on a ship, a Steering Committee "steers" the organization in a direction that will be of most benefit to the organization.

Thus, a Steering committee should not be an excuse to bypass the normal Administrative organization and decision-making process of the organization. A Steering Committee should concern itself with long-range, broad-brush planning actions. Sometimes a Steering Committee may be formed when the group would be better organized as a Task Force or Project Team.

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