Team Building through Committee Participation

Sonja Koukel, PhD (NM), VP for Professional Development

What is your reaction to committee work? Do you recoil from engaging due to past negative experiences? Do you relish the opportunities committee work provides for working with others toward a common goal? Are you a committee member because it is part of what is expected of you as a professional? Or, are you a committee member because it provides you an opportunity to give back to your organization? Whatever your reason(s) for participating or not, serving on committees is a team building exercise – bringing members closer together and making the organization stronger.

In the article, Team Building Tips – Take Your Team from Great to Extraordinary, author J. Britton offers tips for building viable teams. Looking at the article through the NEAFCS lens, we see how the committees and subcommittees provide team-building opportunities.

  1. Create a Common Vision – Spend time visioning as a team – what do you want to create and where you want to go.
  2. Develop Common Goals – All team members need to understand how their efforts are feeding into the larger objectives.
  3. Create an Action Plan – All members need to understand how their efforts feed into the larger objectives.
  4. Clarify Roles and Responsibilities – Clearly communicated roles and responsibilities help in supporting and achieving the vision and goals.
  5. Spend time learning what the members need – Open and regular communication makes the team more focused and productive.

At the national level, the NEAFCS Vision is part of the Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan 2013-2016 is found on the website under the Member Center tab. Follow the Document Library link.

Each of the Vice President Committees (e.g., Professional Development) establishes goals based on the national vision. All of the subcommittees, then, create Action Plans using the vision and the goals as guidelines. Action plans keep all committee members informed as to their roles and responsibilities. The action plans are used as road maps for meeting goals and celebrating successes. These interlinking and overlapping strategies create a synergistic system that ensures the organization is headed in the right direction.

Teams are formed to capture synergy: that magical event when the result is greater than the sum of the parts (Eikenberry, 2007). Take action today. Lend your expertise to one of the subcommittees available through NEAFCS. You and your organization will be the better for your service.


Eikenberry, K. (2007). Remarkable Leadership.