Handle the Implied Task

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In helping many of the business leaders I coach plan for success, I encourage them to think about the end point first and go backwards to where they’re standing now — like a work-back plan or schedule. I ask questions like, “Am I doing the most useful things I can right now to make that happen?” and, “Are they doing the most useful things, too?” It’s been my approach for years and recently, a podcast I was listening to gave me pause. They suggested handling the “implied task” first.

What is the implied task?

Let’s pretend the goal is to make $20,000 a month. I know I’m going to need a certain number of accounts, clients, hours, etc. to do that. Then, I map that back all the way to where I’m standing right now at 9:01 AM on a Monday. That’s what I’ve always done. And my plan has usually stopped there. I know what to do to obtain those accounts. So, it’s just a matter of getting started.

But the podcast got me thinking about what exactly the implied tasks are to achieve the goal. What are some obvious, yet often overlooked and unspoken things that I could be doing in the next five minutes, 15 minutes, hour, etc. to move me toward one of those outcomes? Be it a new client to work with or a new project to launch. What are some simple things I could be doing that no one should have to tell me to do?

Back to basics

Humans have a tendency to over complicate things. Admittedly, I know I can become so laser focused on my long-term goals that I can lose track of the smaller wins I can achieve right now. And, all too often we overlook those little tactics that helped us get to where we are today.

An email.

A text.

A phone call.

A quick coffee meeting.

These are just a few of the implied tasks you can take on in this moment that will help you move the ball forward.

Self Reflection

Consider your implied tasks, those items that someone should not have to tell you to do, that are pretty obvious. Then, write them down. It can be as simple as, “Email Joe at ABC today.” You’ll likely be shocked not only at the amount of tasks you can accomplish today but how their completion creates a ripple effect that advances you towards your bigger goals.

After you’ve identified some of those implied tasks, spend some time reflecting on human communication, how you interact with people, and doing the type of things that would advance you in your career and in life. Hopefully, you’ll see the connections between the two and also find some focus for your day, week or month.

If this exercise brings about any ah-ha moment, please share them below in a comment or with me directly on LinkedIn.


Want to hear more from Senior Leadership Consultant BJ McKay? Check out this recent episode of “Leadership Talks” focused on engagement built on self-awareness.