Strong companies all have a process they use to make difficult or impactful decisions. This can be done by writing the pros and cons down, informing the entire team and finding the results, talking to industry leaders, or using a steering committee.

All these options have their benefits. However, the steering team is one of the most substantial options for leading a company by making accurate, informed, and direct decisions. How to form a steering team is a question many ask, and the answer is as simple as finding a strong group of leaders to assist with decisions for the company.

The team can consist of managers and leaders within the company, which is one of many options. Companies can attract industry leaders, knowledgeable individuals, and other individuals to form part of the steering committee. The team will face difficult decisions and obstacles that must be overcome to steer the company’s direction.

What Does a Steering Committee Do?

A steering committee aims to solve pressing problems and create solutions that will lead the company to grow according to the team’s primary goals and plans. These individuals will make directional decisions on all organizational projects, providing the rest of the team with clear direction and guidance. C-level executives can significantly benefit the team, depending on the committee size. 

Identify the Need for a Steering Committee

A project team will add direction and value to the difficult choice that must be made to keep the company afloat. A team of strong individuals can make clear and direct decisions when facing a problem.

The committee will keep the company on track, with many distractions and tasks on every employee’s plate. The employees can lose direction of where the company goals and direction. The committee will assist the team’s approach and functions regularly to ensure they are moving in the right direction.

Another benefit of a strong steering committee is that the committee will be representatives from within every sector of the company. By using individuals from within the company, the team can consider all aspects and sectors of the business when deciding on a solution or direction for the company.

Establish Clear Objectives and Goals

The project team must have clear objectives and project goals to pursue throughout every decision and problem they solve. This will give the team a clear direction to ensure that every informed decision aligns with the company’s values and principles. Some can identify boosting employee morale or developing an excellent framework for the team as meeting project goals. The focus should be on writing down precise and concise plans the team will follow.

However, the primary goals must align with the company policy, and the team must aim to keep the current project on track throughout. Project scope can be used as a goal and objective with finding additional funds as a subtask within the project. 

How To Select the Right Committee Members

A strong team will give the company the direction and tools to grow. Thus picking a team that will have the company’s progress and employees in mind through every decision is of utmost importance. The focus should be on the committee size and the single project the team will be steering. A project’s success relies on the effective steering committee and its strategic plan. 

Determine Stakeholder Representation

A stakeholder is an individual that has an interest in a business. These individuals do not work within the company but are invested and make money as the business grows. The stakeholder is in a strong position and must be present within the team of the steering committee.

The stakeholder will bring an outsider perspective to the table. The stakeholder will want the business to grow and gain profits as far as possible, and due to the lack of actual time in the industry, he can bring an objective and clear opinion.

Identify Key Competencies and Skills

The team leader must create an excellent team with set skills before acquiring the team itself. The team leader must pick a team according to the skills and competencies that they have identified. This will assist the team leader by displaying exactly what type of skills he needs. The entire team must have a set of critical competencies which will allow them to make difficult informed decisions.

After selecting the first candidate, key skills will be filled, allowing the strong leader to find another candidate that completes the other essential skills. There will not be a single individual with all the required skills. Thus picking a strong team is paramount.

Invite Diverse Perspectives

The benefit of a team is that every individual experiences the business differently, and this diversity will allow the team to create a complete perspective of a problem. By picking a diverse team, the leader can receive a wholesome perspective with multiple creative solutions to drive the company forward.

Who’s On the Steering Committee?

After determining the key characteristics, selecting the best candidates might be tricky. The team must consist of all the necessary skills, and while skills are crucial, the character of each of these individuals must be strong.

Designate Chairperson and Vice Chairperson

As with every team, a leader must be present. In a steering committee, the leader comes as a designated chairperson. This individual will lead the team into difficult conversations and solutions throughout their career. The team will follow and listen to this individual at every steering meeting.

The vice chairperson will be second in charge. In the absence of the chairperson, the vice chairperson will take control. The vice chairperson will also have other tasks and objectives which will be part of the position. These tasks will be to assist the team in meetings by preparing specific information and documentation,

Define Individual Roles and Contributions

A strong steering committee all have set roles and contributions according to the skills and talents of each member. This will allow the team to distribute the tasks fairly among the group, and the defined tasks will provide every individual with important direction and tasks.

When handing out tasks, the chairperson must aim to give roles and contributions that align with the skills of the individuals. This will ensure that the individuals will enjoy the functions and have the skill to complete them at a high quality. The key is providing the team with enjoyable tasks to progress the business. And when complex tasks surface, the team will have the capacity and strength to solve them.

Establish Decision-Making Processes

A decision-making process will differ between individuals. Some prefer to take time, evaluate the options, and generate new ideas, while others prefer to jump in and fix the problem as soon as possible. The key is to set a process that the entire team is comfortable with. Higher-level decisions will be of great benefit, which will provide additional guidance to the team and improve the current scope of the company culture and project.  The external stakeholders, as well as internal stakeholders, will find this a great benefit to the company. 

A committee’s decision-making process in which the team makes informed decisions is of utmost importance to the success of the steering committee. The process will provide the team with the exact method of solving a problem or creating creative ideas to increase business and sales. The team will know exactly what procedure to follow, providing the team with clear actions that will provide a solution.

The processing can be as simple as identifying the problem, gaining information on the situation, creating solutions, determining the best solution, and incorporating the answer into the issue. Another key to a problem is finding an expert to fix the recurring problem. The team might need help with planning and hosting events, and thus using an event planner or coordinator to assist will solve the general concern that the company faces.

How To Form A Steering Committee Structure

The team is set, and everyone knows their roles and responsibilities within the committee. Now the focus has shifted to forming and running the steering committee to the highest capacity with the greatest return on investment.

Set Meeting Frequency and Duration

Meetings must be created and communicated at least a few weeks in advance. This communication will allow each team member to schedule the time for the meeting that will be occurring on a specific date.

The chairperson can communicate that the team will meet on the exact date every second week or month to improve the frequency. (Every second Monday or every first Thursday of the month). This will allow the team to add it to their schedules, mainly leaving the time for this set meeting.

The meeting must have a duration communicated to them with a specific starting time. The duration will allow the team to keep the necessary time open to be present throughout the entire meeting, ensuring members stay on time to complete other tasks or functions.

Develop an Agenda Framework

An agenda will provide the entire team with the critical focus points of the meeting, and this will allow them to add extra facts if necessary. Another benefit of an agenda is that the team will have time to prepare beforehand, and the team members can come up with questions, solutions, or other problems linked to the main point on the agenda.

Implement Documentation and Communication Practices

Meetings can feel like a waste of time or a chaotic show. The team leader can prevent this by implementing simple rules and communication practices. There can be rules such as raising hands to indicate thought or that no shouting is allowed. These simple practices will enable the entire team to create a productive meeting for everyone to raise their opinions or concerns.

A set document can be drawn up to provide the team with all the processes, communication practices, and agenda framework to ensure that each can understand the committee’s common goals and direction. However, this documentation must be signed to show that they have read it and understand its implementation.

Ensuring Collaboration and Engagement

The committee team is a creation that must allow engagement and collaboration. Each member is placed on the team due to their skills and knowledge within a specific area within the business. Thus, engage and speak when needed to ensure that the team can gain a holistic view of the impact of particular problems and solutions.

Encourage Active Participation

Every team member is there due to their skills, knowledge, and area of work. This allows every team member to raise their voice to announce or pinpoint a problem that specific problems or solutions can bring.

Individuals can add value to every meeting due to their skill sets and knowledge. The chairperson, however, must create a safe and open meeting environment to ensure that the team has the space to raise their opinions within the meeting.

Foster Open Communication Channels

Clear and open communication is the number one problem that many committees need help with. The team must set clear boundaries and create channels that will foster open communication. An open communication channel will allow the team to hear every problem within the company, thus providing them time to develop solutions.

Address Conflict and Disagreements

There will be multiple personalities and characters within the team. This creates a diverse and strong group. A diverse group has challenges, and disagreement and internal conflict are among them. The team must have a system to work through differences and conflicting situations.

Questions can be asked to ensure that the individual portrays the idea and opinion openly and directly. The aim should not be to avoid disagreements but rather solve them when they appear. Conflict resolution will allow the team to find common ground. Central resources or a consulting team can assist and guide the team to resolve internal problems. 

Evaluating Committee Performance and Success

A committee will not have insights into the team’s success rate if no performance indicators exist. The key to a successful team is to identify the success rate and determine the weaknesses to improve them as soon as possible.

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key performance indicators are a set of quantifiable measurements that will indicate the team’s success and performance rate. The KPI is an excellent method to provide the team with statistics on the success rate and weaknesses of the group. This will allow the team to introspect and find solutions, becoming an excellent strength for the business.

Check Out Successful Project Steering Committee Meetings:

Conduct Regular Assessments and Reviews

Regular assessments and reviews will give the team valuable input on the areas that are improving and those that are not. The team must use these reviews to assess how they can assist and improve every part of the company, not solely one aspect. The team should work hard to accommodate and help the entire team.

The team members will be there to serve the business, not to relax and feel superior to other staff. This must be communicated. The entire business direction and success depend on the steering team’s attitude, solutions, and strength.

Implement Continuous Improvement Strategies

Continued improvement and growth are of utmost importance. The company and team will improve as the team learns to communicate, identify problems, and state clear solutions.

The team can use incentive travel to create a stronger team where they can develop new skills. The improvement strategies will allow the team to improve on their current weaknesses, enhancing the entire business from the top down.

What Are The Common Challenges of Forming A Steering Committee?

One of the biggest challenges is internal conflict and disagreements within the team. The team might need help communicating their ideas clearly, leading to differences. Another challenge can be selecting and equipping the best team to function as a steering committee. The members must be well-educated, knowledgeable, and skilled. Thus picking the wrong member can lead to the dismay of the team.

Slow decision-making can be another downfall for the team, and taking their time to make crucial decisions will impact the entire business. Stagnation and the lack of continuous development can leave the team with recurring problems. The team must find different methods and processes to improve the team.


Are Project Managers Part Of The Steering Committee

Project managers can be part of a steering committee. This depends on the specific steering team. If the team focuses on projects, a project manager will be included in the group. The individual will be the team’s eyes and ears on the floor.

How to Conduct a Meeting of the Steering Committee

The meeting must start by creating an agenda with critical points and setting a meeting date for the team. The team will have a clear road map for the entire meeting. As the meeting starts, the team can catch up on each other’s personal lives, which will lead to the official start of the session.

The team will go through each point on the agenda individually to ensure that all topics and problems are resolved. The team will be responsible for providing solutions ions throughout the meeting. Once every point is dealt with, the team can adjourn.

Final Thoughts

A steering committee is an excellent option for any company. The team will be responsible for dealing with complex and recurring problems and finding new and creative methods of progressing the company. However, the team must have the business in mind and consist of a strong and diverse group.

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy


Certified Meeting planner with 20+ years of event management experience, founder of ConferenceSource, expert in meeting facility sourcing & contracting in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Kelly will manage your budget as if they were her own, negotiating the best possible rate and hotel contract to benefit and protect every client and exceed all expectations for all planning aspects for sales meetings, educational meetings, product launches, incentive trips down to a small board of directors meeting. We make meetings easy understanding your meeting objectives and delivering meeting matched components.