Set The Agenda (April 2010)

If you don’t set the agenda, one will be set for you. Guaranteed.

Even if you do take the initiative and set an agenda, there is some chance that the boss will overrule you on some or even all of it, but at least you have taken a shot. Whether you’re in finance or any other discipline it’s important to walk in (to a meeting, your Monday morning, whatever) with a plan. To do otherwise is to let the thoughts of others or the events of the day control you. Not a good idea.

Instead, take a few moments or as long as is necessary to set the agenda. Before you start your day or walk into a meeting, put paper to pencil and make a plan. It will both show initiative and forethought. Ultimately, those are qualities that people are looking for in leaders.

Think about how a meeting might turn out differently under these two scenarios.

Scenario 1: You walk into a meeting to discuss your plan for the week, month, year, project, etc. Only you have no plan. The next thing you know the boss is throwing ideas your way. Some good — some not so good. Or worse, some good, some really bad. At this point, you’re stuck. You either accept those ideas or you end up arguing or negotiating about them. In either event, you’ve lost the opportunity to influence control over your work and your time.

Scenario 2: You walk into the same meeting with your own agenda. You have a plan and the boss sees that you took the time to think about business needs and priorities. Whether the boss agrees with all of your ideas or not, you’re likely to walk out with 80% of your plan in place. In fact, if the boss is busy, he or she might leave it alone if they disagree with small parts of it. They’ll move on to things are higher priorities for them and you’ll end up with your plan accepted in its entirety. And even if they disagree with most of it and make substantial changes, they’ll likely respect the fact that you cared enough to present your thoughts.

Always come forward with your agenda. In the best case, it gives you a chance to exercise greater control and take action based upon what you think is in the best interest of the company. In the worst case, it lets those above you and around you know that you are acting like a leader. Think about it, what do you want from your employees? Someone to come into your office and say: “Boss, what should I do?” or “Here’s my plan.” The answer is obvious.

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to

your cash is flowing. know where.®

Ken Homza
Copyright @ 2010 Homza Consulting, Inc.

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