Agendas are strong signals amidst a sea of noise. And it's a pity that the term has come to be associated with negative connotations.
Having an agenda in some circles means you are sneaky and selfish. Both are assumed, of course. It is not so.
Leaders, scientists, engineers, writers, teachers, and even marketers all drive towards an outcome — and they decidedly do that with a specific point of view.
Why do meetings with an agenda run better?
- you set expectations of what you'll cover
- and the time you will cover it in
- and provide a framework for taking notes
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary provides two definitions for the term "agenda":
- a list or outline of things to be considered or done
- an underlying often ideological plan or program
The Latin root of the word is the neuter plural of agendum, gerundive of agere, which means to act (agire in Italian). You guessed it, agenda shares a common etimology or origin with agent. It means these are the things you are acting on.
When you communicate about what you wish to do and intend to do in business, you do that for example in negotiation situations — we negotiate meaning in conversations and translations, too — in planning a direction, and much more, you share your agenda.
I suggest what makes us bristle when we hear the term "agenda", is the thought of hidden agendas. We all like tricks when the magician is performing. Any other kind, and we end up seeing behind the curtain sooner or later. It's like looking in the mirror.