5 Dangers of Your Secret Agenda


We all have a personal agenda, even in our work. For most, a majority of that agenda is hidden, hidden in fear and kept secret so that others will not use it against us. “If I tell them my plan, they might stop me.”

What many fail to realize is that the secret agendas are not really that secret. And these hidden agendas create their own dangers. Here are five of these dangers:

1. Your behavior will betray you. You may not share your personal agenda with words, but your actions and attitude will reveal it. Maybe not all at once, but over time actions show true intentions. When our words do not match our actions, we lose credibility. And don’t think others are not watching and listening. They are doing just that, even if they don’t ever tell you.

2. Your commitments will suffer. Commitments are often made publicly due to social pressure or professional responsibility but they may be contrary to our secret agendas. It is hard to stick to commitments we don’t believe in.

3. You will waste a lot of time. Secret agendas along with public commitments can mean having to essentially work on two plans at one time. That takes more effort, much of it wasted, redundant, and inefficient.

4. Others will lose trust in you. As your actions betray that you have a different agenda than you say, others will notice and find it harder and harder to have confidence that they can count on your word.

5. You’ll lose trust in others. As others lose trust in you, you’ll notice. It may even hurt your feelings as if you feel let down or betrayed that you are treated differently. It will be hard to notice that you started the cycle (or at least feed the cycle) of mistrust.

Older man thinking

I’m not suggesting all of your plans should be shouted from the rooftops and plastered all over social media. Keeping your game plan for life and work private can be important (or at least prudent).  You may follow a private plan individually, with your work team, or your family. It is when personal secret agendas fail to match stated plans where problems develop that work against you.

Thoughtful plans are considered a great step toward success. However, secret agendas create inconsistencies in our relationships that hold us back and create unwinnable situations. Develop plans that you believe in, find ways to believe in yourself, and you’ll find there is a power in transparency that makes success easier, not harder.


Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. His website, www.nerdtoenglish.com, will lead you to more information about effective communication training, risk assessments and genuinely helpful tips. You can email Glenn directly at glennsphillips@nerdtoenglish.com.

Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2012. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.