I was in a meeting recently where several people spoke on a vital issue. And though each person presented themselves as only looking out for the good of the whole, it was clear that there were hidden agendas, passive aggressive comments, ulterior motives, and even some stretching of the truth.
After the meeting I went up to a friend and asked how he thought the meeting went. His response was, “Everybody’s got an angle.” And you know what… he is right! We all have angles, agendas, motives and we have all stretched the truth to make our point at times. There is none righteous, no not one (to quote the Bible). This makes it difficult when a group has to make a decision. When all the cards aren’t on the table, the decision that comes out of the discussion has a good chance of being flawed.
Why are we like this? Why can’t we admit up front that we have something at stake in the discussion? And if we can’t admit that, why can’t we excuse ourselves from the process because of the potential conflict of interest? Part of the reason is that we don’t like to lose. We don’t like to lose a debate, an argument, a bet, a game, or anything else that involves winners and losers. But when we aren’t transparent and above boards about our agenda, we all lose. The final decision will not be based in reality, but rather on the version of reality that we all portray in the discussion.
Another reason we do this is we don’t want other people thinking bad thoughts about us. We have an image we portray, a reputation to keep. The thing is, I don’t know about you but I hold a person in higher esteem who is transparent about their angle, and honest about their motives.