Hadduck's Rules of Order for Committee
Several years ago, reflecting upon my experience in academia as a member of various
committees, sharing table with administrators, faculty, staff, and students, I began to take
notes. I noted the commonalities, or at least typicalities, among committees, no matter their
purpose or membership. Wanting to be as kind as possible, I will suggest that the brilliantly
democratic idea of committee probably originated very far back in human history, under a tree,
with a man, a woman, and a loquacious reptile. Had Shakespeare penned in modern parlance a
note on the dynamics of committee, Mark Anthony might have said,
"Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of passive-aggression."
Before we consider the rules, we should first observe a general principle: The art of committee
lies in the interplay of three things: 1. talking incessantly about change; 2. avoiding decisions
that create change; and 3. blaming someone else for failure.
Nota Bene: Chronically tired people behave like drunk people--they make poor decisions. Thus,
a room full of tired committee members is like a room full of drunk people, but less fun.
Research bears this out. Of course, I depend heavily here upon research, as this pertains
primarily to academic committees. Nonetheless, I have wished that church and club
committees (and boards of all sorts) would likewise embrace such rules as these.
Rules for Committee
Tristi Nota: I served on committee once with a fellow who made this confession: “I get on as
many committees as possible because I do not want anything to happen without my influence.”
Devil, dunce, or zealot? I don’t know, but pitiable.