Ineffective People

July 18, 2009

Ever dealt with or worked with someone with numerous agenda?  By and large, I experience people with multiple agenda to be ineffective.

double mindedI work with a guy who is always trying to prove  to us and others that he is not a 58-year-old washout.  In his efforts to prove this, he actually ends up solidifying that he is a struggling 58 year old and is actually creating what he is trying to deperately to disprove.

He does have abilities in what he does, but his effectiveness gets choked by his other agenda which appears to be to prove he is not what he fears he might be. If he would just do what he does and be good at it, he would be getting much farther ahead and we would be less prone to looking at his past…. which he continually draws our attention to with his overcompensating behaviour.

This point brings out a number of valuable lessons to me…

1. In AA when we talk about singleness of purpose, I believe we are talking about avoiding tainting our effectiveness with numerous agenda.

2. When Dr. Stephen Covey talks about how highly effective people practice the habit of “Keeping the main thing the main thing”, he is describing this same principle of remaining effective by not letting multiple agenda taint what is most important.

3. In the book of James where it describes a double-minded man being unstable, the exact same thing is being described.

In my spiritual, career, and recovery relationships, I am very cautious not to allow people with mixed agenda to dilute the effectiveness of the groups I am involved with.  I take all of these aspects of my life very seriously and strive to keep all efforts effective and focused.

So many people with mixed and multiple agenda are not even aware of it.  Like the guy I describe.  I doubt if he has any notion of how desperate he appears to be.  Nor is the socially needed guy at the AA meeting who appears to need to be important by prolonged sharing of personal details from the podium.  Nor is the relationally desperate guy at church who attends functions in hope to meet a woman.

Like in so many aspects of life, we can so easily be self-deceived.  And self-deception is impossible to spot on our own.  Which is why I make it a habit to spend time with people who will be honest with me about where they feel I am at and what they feel my motives are.

This kind of honesty helps me spot my own multiple and hidden agenda and helps me be as effective as I can be.





  1. Excellent points. I agree with Dr. Covey on “Keeping the main thing the main thing.” Despite all my downfalls, this is something I’m actually good it. Approaching things with a single mindedness, and not being distracted by other obligations. Of course, I am referring to work. I still have work to do in my personal life.

  2. Ya TV…

    I guess what I am referring to is a team member weaving in a personal agenda that takes away from the team’s agenda.

    No doubt, an affair would qualify for this description…. no judgement intended.

    I know it was aparent to my business partners when I was divided from the business objectives by my addiction objectives. It jus stands out.

    A team effort, whether be family, business or sports, is diluted when someone weaves through a selfish agenda that acts contrary to the team, that person is acting as a taker rather than a contributor.

    Like the hot-shot showboat on the hockey team who selfishly carries the puck when he should pass… just so he can look like the big hero.

    As the saying goes… There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’.



  3. Nice Post. Thanks for this one.

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