When CALMC works with a Labor-Management committee, we begin by conducting a committee effectiveness assessment. The process allows us to determine the status of the committee and its needs in order to plan the training. It also serves as a benchmark for later assessments.
We also encourage committee to continually assess their own progress using both formal and informal methods. One of the informal methods is to think about the perceptions a guest in your meetings might have.
- Would a visitor believe the committee spent its time focused on problem solving?
- Would they think the members avoided taking positions on items?
- Will a visitor see management lined up on one side of the table and labor representatives on the other?
- Would a guest observe member behaviors that contribute to cooperation and solving problems?
- Could they follow along a prepared agenda for the meeting, with members staying on topic?
- Would a visitor observe open, honest discussion, with members freely expressing their opinions and offering suggestions?
- Would they see a meeting that was facilitated effectively without anyone dominating the process?
- Did they see a meeting that flowed smoothly, or was it interrupted by caucuses?
- Would visitors see clear progress made on items being considered, or will the next meeting be a rehash of the same items without progress?
- Are they likely to see the committee make decisions based on available data rather than by guesses about what members think might be happening?
Finally, consider the question that might be the toughest of all. Would a visitor be able to identify whether members represented management or labor? The most effective committees spend their time solving problems. While members represent the interests of their constituents, they recognize that almost all interests are shared by both sides. They use this as the basis for finding mutually acceptable solutions. This creates an atmosphere where members freely offer ideas without regard for their affiliation. A visitor might not know who individuals represented, only that they actively participated in a cooperative effort.
Ask what visitors to your LMC meetings would observe about your process. Use the answers to help evaluate your committee. If you are concerned about the results, CALMC can help you improve your effectiveness.