Houston Forward Times

02 July 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney


Everybody who knows me, knows I hate having unnecessary meetings.

Personally, I despise people who love having meetings with no clear purpose or direction in mind, except having meetings to discuss things that could have been handled by email or conference call.

Typically, nothing gets done when these ‘meeting happy’ folks propose more meetings that become so annoying that I dread even accepting another meeting request from them altogether.

You know, I’ve participated in a lot of meetings over the years and the one thing that I’ve witnessed that can make or break each meeting, is whether there was agenda involved or not.

Many of the productive meetings I’ve attended, that had minimal hiccups, turned out that way because someone took the time to develop a solid agenda that everyone involved with the meeting chose to follow. Subsequently, the meetings I’ve seen go horribly wrong, turned out that way because there was never an agenda developed that was properly followed.

According to Merriam-Webster, an agenda is a list or outline of things to be considered or done. An agenda lists the meeting activities in the order they’ll be presented from beginning to end.

An agenda should always be developed in order to effectively communicate to each participant that the meeting will be conducted in an orderly fashion and that productivity is the ultimate goal. An agenda can ensure that the meeting stays on track and that special projects and routine operations proceed as intended. Having an agenda allows every participant to familiarize themselves with the purpose of the meeting and the topics being discussed, while determining what outcomes and deliverables every participant may expect from the meeting.

The difference between having a meeting, with or without an agenda, could spell the difference between success and chaos. Having a meeting with an agenda can lessen arguments, control emotional responses, increase productivity, build unity and respect the time of every participant. An agenda can help a group of people function as an effective team.

By having all participants accept the agenda in advance of any meeting, a spirit of unity is thrust upon the participants that positively impacts the meeting flow and strategically directs what issues will be discussed. Having a real agenda in place challenges everyone in the meeting to have a greater sense of understanding and control of their emotions, so that everyone is in agreement with the overall goals and objectives being more important than selfish outcomes.

Knowing how important an agenda is to any meeting strengthens my internal belief that it is seriously way past time that Black people had their own collective agenda.

No….no…..correction! It’s not just time Black people had their own agenda; it’s time we had a collective agenda we all agreed upon and planned to execute in order to get things done.

In order to develop a sound and effective agenda, there are many things that Black people must take into consideration. First things first, we must identify who the participants are going to be in the preliminary meeting.

Identifying the participants is a crucial first step, because it is there that we define what the goals and objectives are; what roles and responsibilities each person will have; and most importantly, how much time we’re working with. You only need a remnant of people to be a part of the preliminary meeting and they don’t have to be a man or woman of prominence. This takes humility though on the part of many Black people, because there are many who will want to take the lead and be in control.

As much as I hate to say it, Black people don’t know what their collective goals and objectives are and we tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, which contributes to many of our problems.

I often hear Black people ask the question, "What is the Black agenda?" Well, if you look at the plight of the Black community, I would say we don’t collectively have a Black agenda. Now if I’m wrong, I challenge anyone to answer the questions I have, which are, "What is the Black agenda and How do we know if we’re accomplishing anything that’s part of the Black agenda?"

Instead of having a collective Black agenda, we have accepted a bunch of self-centered individuals as our leaders, many of whom only have inherited titles that showcase their surface leadership. Most of these ‘so-called leaders’ come out to speak in public and seek community praise, but almost always have no answers or long-term, sustainable solutions for the community that can be tangibly measured.

Black people are good at having forums, workshops, seminars, summits, consortiums, town-hall meetings, etc., but even after those meetings are held, things typically don’t get any better.

Things have become so mind-numbing, that even if President Obama himself came and landed Air Force One right in the middle of any traditional Black neighborhood in America, and asked everyone in that neighborhood what item on the Black agenda he could immediately address first, most Black folks would be speechless. Furthermore, if President Obama asked everyone in that same neighborhood what he could do for them that didn’t include hooking them up with cash or any material possessions, most Black folks wouldn’t know what to ask for.

Collectively, Black people have been under the mental control of their oppressors for so long that we need to ask ourselves whether we’ve grown accustomed to being told where to go and what to do as ‘mental’ slaves.

Have the past centuries of physical and mental oppression impacted us such that we’ve adopted a paradigm of oppression that’s keeping us from developing an effective agenda with realistic goals and objectives to positively impact our future?

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." The question I have is, how much shame are Black people going to have to endure before we wake up and realize that enough is enough and that it’s time for us to be a part of crafting the new and improved, collective Black agenda.

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

MAA WereReady