Probably one third of the events that we are asked to pitch for are organised by a committee. Typically a committee is formed, usually from volunteers, and then each member has to find a potential team building event and present it to their colleagues. They will then discuss the options and vote on which they think will be best received by the participants.
'Management by committee' is usually presented as a negative idea, and often large corporates are in the firing line as having this sort of culture. The suggestion is that it gets in the way of quick decision making. However, there is more to it than that and in reality using committees in certain situations can have benefits.
Decision making: Choosing events by committee should ensure that an event is chosen that has broad appeal. Events chosen by one person may reflect that person's interests more than those of the group. Committees also reduce the risk of blame falling to one person if the choice is unpopular. It might be argued that individuals should be accountable. That may be true when it comes to their day to day work, and their area of expertise. However, organising an event is likely to be alien territory.
Selection and presentation: This process involves skills that are useful in a corporate setting. Selection involves judgement and consideration of what might appeal to colleagues and this in particular will make people consider their colleagues. Presentation builds confidence, which is extremely important.
Team building: The creation of a committee is, in itself, a team building exercise. If an event involves several departments, bringing representatives from various teams together will build relationships and bridges between them. After the committee has been disbanded those links will remain and that will help the company. Having someone who you can call and who knows you is at the core of successful collaboration within large companies.
Organising a team building event is, generally, a positive experience which involves a lot of fun. Provided that companies use committees with judgement they can give positive benefits through their process and this is a good example of when they are appropriate.