• By: Tim Vire
  • March 28, 2022
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are you joining a board’s executive committee? To prepare, you must be aware of the major duties that await you and your fellow committee members.

In the absence of the board, the executive committee can make crucial decisions that align the organization towards achieving its mission, vision, goals, and strategic plan.

Keep reading these 5 significant roles to gain deeper insights into your roles and those assigned to executive leadership.

What is an Executive Committee?

The executive committee derives its powers, duties, and responsibilities from the organization’s bylaws or constitution.

As a standing committee, the executive committee plays a vital advisory role and prioritizes issues for the board to handle.

Strategies to Improve Executive Committee Effectiveness

The primary responsibilities for an executive committee include:

1. Provide Navigational Direction to the Board and Organization

The executive acts as the organization’s steering committee. At any given time, various organizational issues require the board’s attention. The executive committee will sift through these issues and present them to the board in order of priority. They direct which cases it should handle hierarchically in the board meeting‘s agenda.

Additionally, the executive committee is mandated to research issues such as governance, investments, industry risk, and other relevant business matters. They compile their findings and present a report to the board for further action.

The executive committee also delegates power accordingly to ensure the organization achieves its goals and successfully executes the overall strategic plan.

The committee prioritizes the most vital projects and delegates top management duties to complete them according to the organization’s development and strategic plans.

2. Respond to Emergency Issues

If your organization’s board includes a large membership and each member is located in different geo-locations, honoring last-minute in-person meetings to discuss vital issues affecting the organization might be challenging.

Under normal circumstances, board members require much prior notice to give them ample preparation time for their meetings. You can imagine how painstaking it is for them to attend a meeting at short notice.

An executive committee is smaller than a board, and members might be in the same locality. The members can meet on short notice to deal with issues requiring immediate attention.

There’s no telling when a disaster in the organization might strike. Such events require immediate funds. Without the board to authorize them, the executive committee ensures the availability of cash funds.

Additionally, the executive committee oversees the recovery process and helps to mitigate  issues in case of an emergency.

3. Serve as a Mentor to Board Members

Finding your way as a new board member can be daunting. While you’ve gone through orientation, joining a board with longtime, close-knit members can make you feel like an outsider.

The executive committee helps to mentor you, accelerating your integration and helping you break into your new role as a board member. The executive committee members serve as mentors by:

  • Facilitating your orientation and training
  • Conveying all board meeting rules
  • Meeting with you privately before your first board meeting
  • Introducing you to the rest of the board members
  • Coaching you during meetings
  • Regular checking in to confirm your progress
  • Providing any resources you need to learn more about the role

Additionally, the executive committee ensures and facilitates annual board self-examinations that contribute to productive leadership governance practices.

4. Conduct and Lead Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the methodical development of the organization’s strategies, goals, directions, and metrics to assess business performance.

In most cases, strategic plans are long-term, generally three to five years, and require regular revisits, especially when the organization embarks on a new undertaking such as entering a new market.

The executive committee conducts a deep SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, or Threat) analysis to assess the organization’s current position. The committee then develops a strategic plan to ensure the business stays proactive.

This strategic plan should always act as the true north that aligns all stakeholders and business processes toward achieving the overall business goals.

Developing the strategic plan is part of the planning process. The executive committee presents the plan to the board for scrutiny and approval.

After the voting and approvals occur, the committee implements, tracks, and improves the plan. The committee also updates the board on the strategic plan’s implementation progress.

5. Crucial Communication Medium

The executive committee also fulfills the role as a crucial communication channel and link between all stakeholders, employees, management, C-Suite, executive directors, and the board of directors.

With the ability to meet regularly, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, the committee members are better positioned to establish a working relationship with all stakeholders and collect vital business information on the ground.

They can collect vital workplace data by intermingling and overseeing critical business projects. They gather information and concerns from parties, such as C-Suite and executive directors. They triage these concerns by determining which matters they can handle and which ones the board should discuss.

Additionally, the executive committee plays a vital role in developing critical policies in the various sectors of the organization, such as the environment, human resources, disaster management, and security.

As members and chairs of special committees, they administer the implementation of various policies relating to the different organization-wide sectors.

Equip Your Board with a Powerful Board Management Solution

Only an executive committee can best handle such major responsibilities. Furthermore, the committee contributes to business performance success by executing the organization’s strategic plan and helping the board.

To make the board’s work more manageable, effective and streamlined, invest in OnBoard, the only ultra-modern comprehensive board management platform capable of transforming the board’s roles.

To learn more about this revolutionary tool, get in touch with us today. 

>>Need to Prepare for the Next Board Meeting? Read our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Meeting Minutes.

About The Author

Tim Vire
Tim Vire
Tim Vire is a senior manager of customer success at OnBoard. "My role places me in working relationship with every other team in the company," Tim says. "I enjoy that broad scope of the business." A Faith Bible College graduate, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and grandson, collecting vinyl records, and listening to music. He lives in Pendleton, Indiana.