Systems Have Agendas

June 26, 2010 |  by

That’s not a judgment – it’s just a fact. Often we don’t realize how many systems – and therefore agendas – are out there. What’s an agenda? It’s the bottom line, the main motivation, the swing vote. An agenda is what a system wants to happen. A system may express itself in many ways, but the agenda is the deciding factor. When the chips are down, the agenda has the last word. That’s why so many “good ideas” get quashed. The system they reside in has an agenda that opposes them.

So what is a system?

Now that’s what’s interesting: A system is usually a consequence of an agenda. The agenda comes first. Then a system is created to implement the agenda. It’s easier to see the system – the brick and mortar, the people involved – the agenda is behind the scenes.

Let’s call a system a group that has an agenda. It may not be the agenda the system says it has, and the members of a system may not even be aware of the agenda, but all systems have them.

Here’s a sampling of systems:

  • your local hospital is a system
  • your neighborhood church or temple is a system
  • your workplace (or workgroup) is definitely a system
  • that nonprofit you admire is a system
  • your favorite basketball team is a system
  • your book club is a system

Seeing things as systems helps us understand them. It reminds us of how many agendas we encounter every day. Again, we’re not labeling agendas good or bad. They give us insight on what a system is really about.

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1 Comment


  1. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

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