Always have an agenda

From today’s Washington Post in a story about President Trump’s phone habits:

“The chatterbox in chief has eschewed the traditional way that presidents communicate with members of Congress, calling lawmakers at all hours of the day without warning and sometimes with no real agenda. Congressional Republicans reciprocate in kind, increasingly dialing up the president directly to gauge his thinking after coming to terms with the fact that ultimately, no one speaks for Trump but Trump himself.”

One day many years ago, I came back from lunch and Cole Campbell was sitting at the desk next to me, scribbling something on a yellow legal pad. Cole was my boss and had an office so I wasn’t used to him sitting in what was, at the time, Stan Swofford’s desk.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Working on the agenda for my trip to Raleigh with the publisher,” he said.

“Agenda?” I asked. We were big on holding efficient meetings in those days.

“I’m working on my version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,” Cole said. “We need three news positions — two on the state desk and one on the city desk. I want to talk about how our paper will pursue civic journalism, and I plan to talk about my future with Landmark.”

He gathered the legal pad and stood up. “When you get private time with the big boss, you should be active, not passive. I have his ear for the 90-minute drive to Raleigh. I’m not going to waste it. So you have an agenda. Always have an agenda.”


One thought on “Always have an agenda

  1. It is sometimes best if others don’t know you have an agenda. I have been admonished…. ‘YOU always have an agenda!’ I then began to deploy more opaqueness and misdirection…. and then told…. ‘be more direct’. No agenda here…. good for your boss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *