Committee session

Outcomes of Committee Communications & Engagement Workshop – Member Engagement Day 2015


.1         During the Committee Communications & Engagement Workshop we asked Committee members the following questions:

a)     What do you think is the role and responsibilities of a Committee member?

b)     What are the biggest challenges for you to fulfil your role?

c)     How would you improve Committees’ communication to the Regions and from them to the wider membership?

d)     What additional support could CMI provide to help you fulfil your role as a Committee member?

.2         18 Committee members attended the session. Whilst the Consulting Community was heavily represented, there was representation from nearly all CMI central Committees. the below gives a summary of the responses. 

Section 1 – Responses by Committee members

.1         Perceptions on the roles and responsibilities of a Committee member

.1         Committee members need to be aware of their terms of reference and understand the commitment required from them in terms of preparation, attendance and contribution to discussions.

.2         Committees must have a focus on strategic decision-making.  They are there to:

•    Challenge ideas and put forward alternative views

•    Contribute towards developments relevant to the Institute’s strategy

•    Bring sector specific expertise to bear in discussions.

.3         Committee members are role models and ambassadors for CMI.

.2         The biggest challenges for Committee members in fulfilling their roles

.1         Some members may not realise the need to digest the business update papers sent with the agenda, the assumption being that the content will be summarised during the meeting.  As a result, too much time is allocated to these items, leaving insufficient time for members to discuss the substantive issues on the agenda.

.2         Standard agenda items could be dealt with in a different way, eg ahead of or outside a meeting, or as silent papers. This will make better use of face to face time. 

.3         Easier access to meeting papers could be achieved by using digital software solutions.

.4         Members attending meetings in person and connecting via teleconference does not make for a good way of working.  It makes a meeting difficult to chair; members connecting via phone are sometimes left out of the debate.  The optimum is to have all members attending in person, or all connecting virtually, rather than a mix of both.

.5         Try and break the mould and, for example, instead of four face to face meetings per year, allow a Committee to move to two face to face meetings of longer duration (perhaps 4 hours), with two virtual (1 hour) meetings inbetween.

.6         There is a lack of engagement of Committee members outside formal meetings.  Opportunities could be afforded, for example to enter into a dialogue to share views` and generally keep in touch with each other.  Again, this would ensure that meetings focus on the business agenda exclusively.

.7         There are increasing pressures on time commitment.  Relevant issues here are:

•    Time commitment for Committee members who are in full time employment

•    Time needed to fully understand the role, gain an appropriate level of knowledge as to what CMI does, and therefore be able to fully contribute

•    Clear expectations on the part of CMI and volunteers re time needed to fulfil the role

•    The Committee Chair should be aware of the time availability of members, as this will help to shape the effective working of the Committee.

.8         Turning ideas into reality.

.9         Feedback is not always received from the Board of Trustees or Director team on recommendations put forward in Committee.  This leads to frustration and disengagement.

.10        At times a Committee’s work may stretch beyond its original remit, as outlined in its terms of reference.  Mission creep has a tendency to set in.

.11        CMI must be open to suggestions which will support organisational strategy.

.3         Ways to improve Committee communication to the Regions and from there to the wider membership

.1         Use social media to better effect (Google hangouts,, Yammer, WebEx etc) together with online tools within closed groups, which could facilitate a dialogue among Committee members between meetings.

.2         The ‘buddy’ system should be used consistently, ie linking Committee members with        contact at Regional Board level, with responsibility to cascade key messages.

.3         Other options to be considered in addition to ‘buddy’ system to cascade information to regions in a reliable, consistent and co-ordinated way.

.4         There could be greater opportunities for central Committee members, for example those on the IC Advisory Committee, to attend Regional Board meetings.

.5         There must be efficient turnaround of minutes and early circulation of summary of key points.

.6         An open dialogue is needed, in particular with IC and WiM champions.  Communications cannot be just one way.

.7         CMI must actively listening to member views and provide feedback.

.4         Additional support to help members fulfil their role as a Committee member

.1         Greater and more effective use should be made of existing communication mechanisms, such as LinkedIn, DropBox, Evernote or GoogleDocs, rather than inventing something new.

.2         Training should be provided to Committee Chairs, to help them in particular to effectively manage virtual meetings.

.3         Agenda and relevant papers should be circulated two weeks in advance of a meeting, with minutes issued within two weeks of a meeting.

.4         Ensure a streamlined governance structure, with clearly understandable linkages between Committees.

.5         Ensuring clarity of expectations on the part of Committee members.

.6         Ensure that sufficient time is allowed within each agenda for debate and decision on the key strategic issues.

.7         Consider a reduction in the number of face to face meetings, with greater use of virtual meeting approaches.

.8         Ensure an annual refresher on the induction guide.