As a VP of Sales, I had multiple team members who wanted to be in leadership. My challenge was that I didn’t have a great way to evaluate their leadership potential.
My first idea was to give each person a project, but then a team member suggested forming committees. This led to one of the greatest productivity tools I’ve used as a sales leader.
In today's issue, I'm going to teach you how to build team committees.
Committees give leadership experience, solve real problems, and drive buy-in on new solutions.
When people hear the word committee, they often feel it’s another item on the to-do list that's not worth their time.
When you build sound committees, you'll get:
Here's how to do it:
A committee that serves a purpose provides immense value. A committee created for the sake of creating a committee wastes everyone's time.
Start by asking yourself questions to decide which committees to build. Here are some questions to ask:
Once you define the purpose of each committee, define the structure of each committee. For example:
These details ensure alignment and understanding of the committee's importance.
The committee chairs are the most important people in the whole process. They are the keys to getting the desired result of the committees.
Their responsibilities include herding cats, ensuring everyone is heard, and representing the committee in leadership meetings. To do this effectively, they are organized, good listeners, and have the team's respect.
Make sure they volunteer for the position and are not forced into it. Motivating them to do the work will be difficult if someone doesn't want to be in the position. Most likely, they want to be in a leadership position and are excited about the opportunity.
The committee chair is an excellent way to test someone's leadership ability. On the flip side, it is a great way for them to test out if they want to be in leadership.
It's essential to create a defined structure for the committee and leadership meetings. This helps everyone stay on track and organized.
During committee meetings, divide them into sections: objectives, feedback, solutions, and option selection. Here is an example from a sales contest committee:
The committee chair will take the selected option and bring it to the leadership meeting. The leadership meeting is with the team's manager and the committee chairs. The committee chairs present an executive summary and the solution. The manager will give feedback on what needs to be changed or approve the solution.
The leadership meetings are great opportunities for team members to develop leadership skills. With a tight process around both meetings, you'll stay focused on the end goal of each meeting.
Build excitement with an all-team kickoff to show the importance of each committee. This lets the team know you care about their opinions and their development.
You'll want to cover the main topics:
The more serious you take the kickoff meeting, the more serious the team will take it. If it's treated as an afterthought, it will be perceived as unimportant. If it's treated as a priority, people will be excited to join them and be active participants.
Implementing the suggestions that come your way is the key to making committees work. It's highly motivating to the team when they feel heard, and their voice matters. Will you implement all their ideas? No. That is where feedback and giving them context on why an idea can't be implemented are critical.
When an idea originates from the team, you have instant buy-in. This makes it much easier to make changes. In high-growth startups, you're constantly changing as you adapt to the market. Committees are a great way to execute the change management process.
This strategy gives leadership candidates real experience. It helps you promote from within and develop solutions with instant support. As a sales leader in an early-stage company, you can't do it all yourself. When you lean on your team, you'll go much further.