One of the best pieces of business advice I have ever received was, “never go into a meeting without an agenda.”
Following that advice, every meeting I am in charge of has a written agenda with copies for all in attendance.
Silly me, late in my career I am discovering that I may have misunderstood that advice. I thought the advice was about a printed meeting agenda of topics we would cover during the meeting.
Could it be possible the agenda I was to have a was a personal agenda for the things I want to accomplish in the meeting despite what the meeting was to cover?
We tend to think of people with agendas as conniving and that their intent is always something evil. The reality is everyone has an agenda whether they realize it or not. And the sooner we understand this reality, the sooner we will become better managers and leaders.
Whether it is in a meeting, a parent-teacher conference, or having lunch with a friend, we always have some personal issue we are trying to accomplish. There is always some underlying issue that, while it may not conflict with the stated reason for the meeting, you would like to use the meeting to influence. And for the most part, our agenda that we are striving for is for good.
For example, your agenda during a business meeting may be to explore your idea of adding staff without actually throwing that idea on the table for everyone to dissect. Your meeting with a teacher is certainly to learn about how your child is doing, but also to learn more about the teacher as compared to the tales your child is telling. And lunches with friends is a time to catch up on how each one is doing both verbally and through intuitive awareness.
Knowing Personal Agendas
Knowing your agenda and the agendas of those around you will make it easier to get your work done. For example, if your agenda is to double the size of your department, wouldn’t you want others on your team to have similar agendas as opposed to a team member whose agenda is to resist change?
Here are several ideas on managing a team once you have an idea of everyone’s agendas.
1. Think of alignment – match the individual responsibilities with team’s agenda. If a personal agenda is to climb the corporate ladder, you will probably get the most productivity from this person by aligning them with tasks that seem the best path for future advancement.
2. Eliminate confusion – management teams today are often left confused by the myriad of agendas they encounter. Team members have their own agenda, their supervisor’s agenda, and the stated corporate purpose that everyone is supposedly striving for.
As a business leader, your main responsibility is to remove the confusion and make sure that, despite all information to the contrary, the corporate purpose is the end goal.
3. Generate trust – leaders with self-serving agendas quickly lose trust with their team. How you manage your agenda directly impacts their reputation, their relationships, and the outcomes that they are trying to achieve.
4. Connecting Points – be constantly aware of the connecting points of your team member’s agendas with your own. These are points of strength and can be utilized to advance your agenda and the stated corporate agenda as one.
God has an agenda, and you are on it. And just like managing a team of agenda-minded individuals who wisely align their agendas with their boss, you will do best to align your agenda with that of God.
What is great about God’s agendas is that is of unstoppable grace, compassion, and love. What could be wrong with aligning your agenda with those same attributes?
Romans 8:28 says.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
We need to be aware of our personal agenda. It is really not important that it aligns with the agendas of other team members, it should align with the stated corporate agenda, but above all, your agenda must align with that of God.
For that, you will be blessed forever.