In the fast-paced world of business and corporate governance, a majority of organizations will often make use of individual members and stakeholders to assist with making high-level business-related decisions. 

Although not commonly found in smaller business organizations, a steering committee is typically composed of a group of informed advisors, which includes stakeholders and executives that helps to propose solutions on specific subject matters related to the business. 

Seeing as larger companies and multinational firms operate across several regions, and are made up of different levels of management, organizations tend to use a steering committee to help present practical solutions that can improve the overall business structure, operations, and consumer experience.

What Is a Steering Committee

There are several different explanations of what a steering committee is, but generally, this group of high-level advisors will represent the organization’s decision-making process to provide both guidance and advice on specific subject matters related to the business, its operations, and customer retention. 

There is also a facet of the steering committee that primarily focuses on improving financial matters, which generally consists of stakeholders and high-level financial executives. As part of the bigger picture, the steering committee will often ensure that the organization has a profound forward-looking strategy that can help them perform certain business tasks and meet shareholder obligations. 

Steering Committee Members

Seeing as a steering committee tends to govern an organization’s guidance structure, the members that make up the committee are often corporate executives, stakeholders, and authorities, which can either be internal or third-party. 

Steering Committee Roles and Responsibilities

Just as with any type of organizational structure and business model, the steering committee’s roles and responsibilities are spread across different levels, with each member or individual carrying out a specific responsibility directly associated with the broader performance of the business. 

Often, the steering committee will attend to a subject matter and divide the roles and responsibilities among appropriate members. To ensure relative solutions are provided, considering the subject matter, roles and responsibilities are divided according to some of the following:

  • Provide insight into subject matters related to business structure and operation. 
  • Consider financial, budgeting, and marketing procedures. 
  • Execute a forward-looking strategy to help the organization reach project deliverables. 
  • Monitoring changes, progress, and timeline risks. 
  • Discussing potential adjustments and changes to help prioritize goals more effectively. 
  • Considering consumer and business relationships. 
  • Analyzing the completion and success of a project. 
  • Helping to improve and encourage collaboration among project team members. 
  • Providing clear insight into the outcomes of a project and changes associated with the larger organizational structure. 

With top-tier executive insight and guidance, different levels of the business structure can function and work effectively towards one specific agenda, ensuring that project deadlines are met in time, encouraging collaboration within the workplace, and helping to improve the relationship between the business and the consumer marketplace. 

Check Out Inside Look: Who Attends Steering Committee Meetings?:

Purpose of Steering Committee

Seeing as there is a lot to consider when combining several levels of expertise, it’s important to regard the overarching purpose of the steering committee and how their expertise will help improve business functions. 

Support the Project

One of the first facets the steering committee will help guide is helping to support the project, and in most instances, the project can range from brand and product development, customer experience improvement, or increasing market reach. 

Make decisions

A big part of what the committee will do is make executive-level decisions that will influence the entirety of the organization. These decisions can either be large-scale, such as making adjustments to the annual budget or deciding whether the company is in a position to increase its research and development for new services and products. 

Resolve Issues

Risk management also forms part of the guidance and advice received by the steering committee. Typically, issues related to the business will need to be reviewed and analyzed, and a decision based on best practices will then be implemented to help improve operations and narrow any future potential risks.

Project Budget

If a new project has been set, with an appropriate timeline, accompanying it will be a project budget that can help determine how much organizational funds can be directed towards the given project. Financial executives will monitor the progress of the project and determine whether a budget can be increased or lowered using due diligence. 

Encourage the Project Manager

Whoever might be overseeing the project, in this case, the project manager, they are often guided and encouraged by steering committee meeting members to ensure that mid-level employees stay on track with targets and operate within the appropriate budget.

Receive Status Updates

Not only do committee members advise on the project, but they will also need to receive status on whether a project is meeting its targets or if changes have taken place, and how much of it has affected the outcomes. 

It’s important for steering committee individuals to be involved in the progress tracking and review status updates regularly to help them understand how forward-looking guidance and decisions will impact the project before, during, or after completion.

Monitoring Risks

Any predetermined risks will be monitored by the appropriate board members to help ensure that in case of any error, or headwinds, a well-detailed plan of action can be executed. 

Monitoring Timeline

Projects are completed within a determined time frame, and it will be up to project manager to encourage mid-level employees to fulfill their duties in a timely manner to keep operations and project completion up to date. 

Monitoring Quality

Once the project has reached the end goal, quality control and assurance will first need to be monitored by the steering committee which will then advise on whether any changes need to be made to help improve the delivery of quality of the product or service. 

Check Out What Is a Steering Committee [Purpose and Roles Explained]:

Types of Steering Committees

Corporate governance will oversee different levels of the organization, as it’s often harder to monitor and control all levels of business through a singular committee. 

Project Steering Committees

Projects that have been designed to help give a business edge over marketplace competitors will often be guided and monitored by a project steering committee. This group of individuals typically ensures that any new projects undertaken by the company can be completed within a given budget and timeline. 

More so, the project steering committee helps to see whether new projects can help build the consumer and business relationship, while at the same time improving the entire customer experience and value perception of the business. 

Portfolio Steering Committees

As another high-level governance body of the organization, the portfolio steering committees will monitor the quality of the project, help to resolve conflict, oversee any potential risks and provide solutions, and analyze any policies that will indefinitely help improve the project management procedure. 

It’s good to know that a portfolio steering committee is not to be confused with a project management office, as companies will often have different group leaders working across several levels of the business. 

Steering Committee vs Advisory Committee

One of the main differences between a steering and advisory board is who appoints the members to the committee. For starters, members on the advisory committee will often be appointed by a director of the company, while steering committee members are selected by a research office and assists the director on decisions related to the company or any projects. 

The board members on the steering committee will reflect the image and vision of the company in the long term, while the advisory board seeks to engage more frequently with the general public and reflect broader organizational diversity. 

How to Run a Steering Committee Meeting

Every committee meeting will look different depending on the given project or subject matter that is to be resolved. 

For the steering committee meeting to be successful, it’s important to ensure that the outcomes of the project are met within due diligence. Secondly, the right committee members need to be assigned and appointed to the board to help provide appropriate guidance. Next is to ensure that there are clear rules and goals and that every member of the board understands what the outcomes of the project should be. 

There should also be time allocated for regular interval meetings that can help provide status updates on the project. Regular meetings should be held between project managers and committee members to help prioritize debriefing efforts.

Additionally, every meeting should have a clear purpose to help the committee understand the issues they are addressing and how they will go about resolving any of these problems within the appropriate good practices of the company. 


What Are the 3 Main Parts of a Steering System?

The three core components of the steering system include decision-making and guidance, risk assessment, and operational support for project managers. 

What Is a Steering System in Simple Words?

A group of high-level executives and stakeholders that advises companies on important decisions related to a specific subject matter. 

Who Should Attend a Steering Committee?

Typical attendees at a steering committee meeting include executives, directors, project managers, and stakeholders. 

What Is the Difference Between a Committee and a Steering Committee?

The steering committee oversees the broader corporate governance of an organization, while a committee acts as an intermediary between projects and executive management.

Who Runs the Steering Committee?

The elected person who runs or oversees the steering committee should be an individual who does not represent the company or organization but rather be an elected chair or committee member.

Final Thoughts

Larger companies and multinational firms that operate across several regions and have multi-layered management levels often require overarching guidance. This is provided by the steering committee, a group of individuals that helps to make high-level decisions based on the subject matter to ensure company goals and business objectives are achieved within due diligence. 

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.