Tip 21: Avoid Hidden Agendas

In the previous chapters, we have been emphasizing the value of communicating clearly and openly with your partner and of using terms whose definitions you have mutually agreed upon for the sake of clarity. More importantly, we have stressed just how essential building and maintaining trust is towards the success of your partnership or alliance. Thus, in creating and maintaining partnerships or alliances, it is absolutely important that you avoid hidden agendas. Hidden agendas are trustbusters – they destroy whatever trust and goodwill you have built with your partner.

The biggest challenge with hidden agendas is the fact that they are hidden. I know it’s an open door, but if they weren’t hidden, we wouldn’t have issues with them. Just imagine how much easier it would be if your agenda and your partner’s agenda are fully transparent. It would be clear to you what their intentions are, and it would be clear to your partner what your own intentions are. There won’t be any doubts whatsoever.

Alliances, partnerships and any other type of collaboration need trust to be successful. As mentioned in the previous chapter, we have no control over whether or not people will trust us. However, we do control how trustworthy we are.

Hidden agendas are partnership-killers. The trust in an alliance is killed the moment you have a hidden agenda or the moment you begin to feel your partner has one. You will always doubt what the other really means, you will always second-guess their intentions, you will never completely believe in your partner anymore, and vice-versa.

Always be transparent in your intentions for the partnership. Above all, avoid hidden agendas. If you ever suspect your partner to have a hidden agenda, try to obtain clarity by asking questions. Find out the true meaning behind their intentions. This is not an easy task, but it is an essential element in building and maintaining a healthy partnership.

Hidden agendas have no place in building a thriving partnership or alliance. They are detriments to your success that should be avoided at all cost.


I am publishing my ebook “25 tips for successful Partnerships and Alliances” in parts here on my website. Every other week a tip from the book will be shared, in the weeks in between I will publish my regular column. If you prefer to read the tips in the ebook faster rather than wait a full year then click here to purchase your own copy of the book.

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