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Help Shape How Industry Concerns Are Addressed—Tips for Select Committee Volunteers
SEMA Member News—March/April 2011
Message From the Chair
By Karl Stearns
Serve for the Right Reasons
While it’s ego-enhancing to be elected to serve on the Select Committee, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it. If you have a strong passion for helping to create an environment in which your industry peers can increase and enhance their business opportunities while solving common problems, you will flourish as a Select Committee member. On the other hand, if your underlying motive is to promote your business interests or your company’s business first, you’re serving for the wrong reasons. People who have such motives often prove ineffectual on a Select Committee because they are quickly missing in action when there’s nothing to gain for them personally.
The Select Committee determines which issues can best be addressed by the council. Task forces or standing committees may be formed to do the necessary work. A chair or co-chair oversees the agenda of the group to keep it on track to accomplish its goal. Any member of PRO can volunteer to serve on a committee or task force. Participation generally involves time for teleconferences and caring for any assignments you have been entrusted with.
It is a challenge to stay involved with the work of your task force or committee. Periodic communication with other members, a clear picture of the goals to reach and remembering the benefits that will result from successful completion of your task force’s work will help you stay actively involved. Without active involvement, a task force will bog down. This means one must stay in touch via e-mail and teleconferences. Notices must be sent out in a timely manner, and all members are asked to respond and attend the teleconferences. As an industry leader, you must keep yourself informed of meetings and be present. Remember, too, that we’re all volunteers who are giving up our time, so always express your appreciation for the efforts of others and keep them enthused about the tasks you’re accomplishing.
Lead by Example
Serving as a council leader requires respect for others and a willingness to put your personal wishes aside at times. This means adjusting your personal expectations to the reality: People can only devote so much time and effort to council work, and you must be willing to accept that while being appreciative of what they can offer up. The example a good leader sets in this regard will go a long way toward the success of a council. Exhibiting an understanding attitude and a willingness to listen to the ideas and suggestions of others will also set the tone and pace of a council that gets things done.
Have a “Future Forward” Vision
Every leader in a council should have an idea of how he or she would like to see the council progress. For those who are entrusted with the chair-elect or chairman’s position, the development of the “big picture” is critical to seeing the council prosper. A true leader will be able to envision things years down the road and will formulate a plan of action that will involve the council in reaching those goals. Along the way, there must be mentoring of new council members, encouragement for chairs of committees and task forces, and patience, patience, patience.
PRO has done some exciting things over the last few years. I’m enthused about the future of the council as I work though the next few months and hand the leadership duties over to Chair-Elect Eldon Bracken. We need passionate, enthusiastic people to bring their ideas and skills to the table. Are you one of them?