In the fast-paced world of business, steering committee meetings play a crucial role in the forward-looking strategy and performance of a company or organization. In the modern and globalized economy, companies now have wider access to a diverse market and range of consumers.

Any steering committee consists of advisory bodies and executives that combine their expertise to provide a forward-guiding strategy on different business-related issues that the company or organization might come face-to-face with. 

These individuals can be owners, executives, stakeholders, and managers, that offer insight into different challenges such as budgets, company policies, different marketing techniques, and a broad range of project management concerns. This is where the purpose of the steering committee meeting becomes essential to help businesses navigate any treacherous conditions. 

What Is The Definition of a Steering Committee?

While those involved in the steering committees will often differ depending on the company, the definition thereof will often remain the same across the business world. 

For starters, a steering committee on an organizational level will consist of executives and stakeholders that facilitate important communication and decision-making efforts between different departments. These committees will oversee important facets of the business such as the budget, marketing, research and development, and project management. 

Then there are steering committees that function on a departmental level, which usually include smaller teams or groups of employees, led by a manager or team leader. These groups will then assist with the selection of different projects, their impact or influence, and further control of how these projects will help improve the forward-looking strategy of the business. 

Who Are In A Steering Committee?

Those included in a steering committee are typically high-level advisors, stakeholders, and industry experts on different business-related subject matters. 

Each of these individuals will use their expertise and knowledge to help formulate a plan and strategy that can help organizational workflow across different departments. Additionally, these members will not often be directly involved with the progress of a project, but rather facilitate and oversee development. 

For public companies that are publicly traded, steering committee members will include several or all stakeholders of the company. In some instances, companies will invite members of the public to form part of the steering committee, depending on the specifications or projected outcomes of the designated strategy. 

Across the steering committee, members are expected to provide insight to the company, and managers on different subject matters, while at the same time monitoring the progress of the company or any specific projects. 

What Are The Roles of the Steering Committee?

While steering committees are a crucial component of any organization and project, it’s important to consider that not every steering committee looks exactly the same, and the roles will be different depending on company or project needs. 

Seeing that the steering committee will consist of different members, some with a financial background, while others have more human resources expertise, individuals will deliver insight as required. 

If the goal is to lower business-related expenses and improve cash flow, or boost revenue, financial advisors will develop a well-detailed plan that can include several key points to help the business achieve these financial goals. 

Human resource experts will again see how these key points will impact the broader business dynamic, and in the event of unforeseen layoffs, develop a strategy of forgoing workers or a shift in roles and responsibilities of employees. 

On an organizational level, advisors, stakeholders, and executives will provide insight on subject matters related to the company or project, and will facilitate different organizational strategies for specific departments. 

One could say that the primary role of the steering committee as a unified group is to advise on organization, financial, and business matters. These specifications will ensure that managers and employees can achieve business objectives, while at the same time operating different projects. 

Although not every project will look the same, the roles are often intertwined with one another, and every person on the steering committee plays a vital role in the bigger development and progress of any given project, regardless of their expertise. 

Why Do Projects Need Steering Committee?

Companies will often require assistance and guidance on specific subject matters to help each project achieve its goals within a given period. This not only ensures that the project is successful but that it can be delivered at an acceptable time, and within budget. 

Depending on the size and scale of each project, steering committees play a vital role in developing plans, goals, and objectives for the project. On top of this, it’s possible that steering committee members can help to identify risks and accordingly address these matters. 

Some projects may require strategic oversight, and team leaders will need to make important decisions regarding the project. Through the use of a steering committee, managers will have more insight and guidance to make the proper changes that will not affect the time of delivery or budget. 

Finally, the steering committees can help to oversee the development and assess how the project has advanced over time. In case of slow performance, the steering committee can then readjust their objectives and goals, allocate the necessary resources and ensure that these are used properly. 

What Happens In A Steering Committee Meeting?

Every steering committee meeting will be run differently, depending on the project, but in essence in these meetings, advisors, stakeholders, and industry experts will develop project initiatives that can help achieve a specific end goal. 

During the meeting, individuals will discuss key points that need to be resolved and consider a forward-looking guiding strategy that can assess different risk factors and overall project management. 

Typically a project manager, who is considered the chair of the committee, will provide a project and an agenda that committee members will follow. During these meetings, individuals will make recommendations based on project goals and objectives. Once the committee has delivered key points, all members will then be required to agree on the recommendations, which will then be implemented accordingly. 

Check Out Make Your Steering Committee Meetings Productive:

What Is Most Important For The Steering Committee To Have?

Some of the most important components of a steering committee should include strong leadership and guidance, a set of clear objectives, and a range of defined policies and procedures. 

Seeing as the committee consists of different industry advisors, each committee should have a chair, or project managers that can lead meetings and oversee the project management aspects. If these elements are correctly combined, the steering committees can act as a governing body that will help to boost the productivity, performance, and efficiency of the business. 

These and other organizational components will ensure that every steering committee meeting is successful and achieve project goals. 

Preparing For The Steering Committee Meeting

It’s imperative that the right people are selected to form part of the steering committee, and that guiding policies will help each member to understand their roles and responsibilities. On the back of this, it’s also crucial to have good time management and set specific parameters for decision-making. 

Preparing for the steering committee meeting would entail having a well-detailed presentation that can be delivered to members to give them a better feel of what the outcomes of the project aim to achieve, and how this will be managed. 

Additionally, it’s important to include time for participants to ask any questions, and that there is enough allocated time to run through some of the queries. Members should discuss any subject-related matters, identify any risks, assess these factors, and establish possible solutions. 

Once the meeting has concluded, members should be informed about any follow-up meetings, and who will be responsible for different facets of the project as it progresses. 

Do’s & Don’ts

To make sure a committee meeting is successful each time, here are some do’s and don’ts to follow: 

Do: 

  • Select the right participants for the project. 
  • Establish roles, responsibilities, and policies beforehand. 
  • Communicate project goals and objectives with members. 
  • Allow members to deliver insight on any possible risk factors. 
  • Have regular project updates and keep members informed. 
  • Give feedback to managers, and advisors. 

Do not: 

  • Ignore important considerations and key project points. 
  • Ignore the importance of taking notes and giving feedback after every meeting. 
  • Don’t divert from conversation topics, and try to remain within time. 
  • If sudden adjustments or changes are being made, communicate this with committee members. 
  • Do not forget to follow up with teams, and provide guidance. 

Steering Committee Charter Template

The project steering committee charter should include the following: 

  • Project Overview
  • Function and role of the steering committee
  • Steering committee member and chair 
  • Individual membership roles and responsibilities 
  • Agenda and minutes 
  • Proxies to meetings 
  • Goals, objectives, and decision-making 
  • Governance protocols including strategic and operations 
  • Steering committee agreements
  • Appropriate appendices

Check Out This Steering Committee Template:

Steering Committee vs Advisory Committee: What’s The Difference

Steering Committees 

Individual advisors are appointed by a project manager or chair, to ensure members will deliver key insight and guidance related to the project. The steering committee will directly influence strategic planning and management of project operations. More so, these committees will assess possible risks, provide solutions, and develop new proposals for projects. These members are typically industry experts and will develop a timeline and project steering committee plan that aligns with the company’s vision, mission, and forward-going objectives. 

Advisory Committees

While similar to a steering committee, the advisory committee will typically consist of members directly associated with the company or project and will develop strategic feedback or advise the chair of the steering committee. These members will oversee project goals, and ensure they remain aligned with company objectives. Typically, advisors will take an external view of both the company and the project to ensure that it reflects the true nature of the company and associates. 

FAQs

Does a Steering Committee Make Decisions?

The steering committee will offer guidance and input to the company and chair of the project to ensure that the goals and objectives of the project can be achieved within a given time and budget. Usually, the steering committee will make decisions that will drive a larger and more meaningful impact on the project and assess any possible risk factors. 

How To Run A Steering Committee Meeting?

– Make sure that the right people are appointed. 
– Present the project. 
– Set expectations of the project and possible outcomes. 
– Establish member roles and responsibilities. 
– Have a communication plan. 
– Schedule a follow-up meeting. 
– Provide adequate time for any questions and queries.
– Give feedback to members. 

Final Thoughts

A steering committee will help deliver achievable goals and objectives for a project to help further develop company interests and marketplace authority. These committees play a vital role in the forward-looking strategy of any project, and ensure broader success, implementation, and project governance. 

Sabine Ghali

Kelly Murphy

PRESIDENT & FOUNDER

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.