On being without agenda

where the magic happens

Recently I was introduced to someone through business and we had a call to talk about potential synergies and collaboration. We then met up a few weeks later in person to go for a walk and talk about collaboration, but somehow never seemed to get around to anything too specific. A few weeks after that, a similar meet up to walk and talk, and again only loosely moved towards collaboration.

There is definitely a theme there of “feels like we might find something to collaborate on”, yet beyond that when we have met there has been no agenda other than to walk, talk and see what emerges from conversation.

One thing we did ponder from these walks, though, was the value of being without agenda, simply seeing what emerges from being completely unplanned. Put another way, having zero “planned utility”.

You see, my new friend is highly qualified in numerous fields including psychology, and I’ve a fascination with economics and leadership, so we both find common interests in human behaviour. We therefore talked about being “utilitarian” and the value of being the opposite, of taking time, energy and focus to simply #flow.

In business and in leadership, we all spend SO much of our time planned out, outcome oriented, structured, with little time to see what flows.

A while ago I wrote “Stop the Busy-ness” and noticed how some leaders use a “five hour rule”, reserving five hours each week for unplanned time.

I certainly found real value in creating unplanned time with a new friend to walk and talk with no “planned utility”.

As I write this, I am contemplating what to do today. The planner in me is saying “organised everything hour by hour”, but I might just leave space to see what emerges. Am I always comfortable being unplanned and unstructured ? No. Is it always the right thing to do ? No. Sometimes we must be planned, structured, have an agenda. Sometimes though, as the drawing above notes, we can get out of our comfort zone, be without agenda. After all, that’s where the magic can happen.