What Are You Saying “Yes” To – Part 2

“Implied tasks” is an important concept that, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough attention. Implied tasks, are, as their name suggests, the things that nobody has told explicitly you to do but which need to be done in order to accomplish the things that you have been told to do. Sometimes they are obvious and easy. Many times they are neither.

In my previous post I wrote about the importance of understanding what one is saying “yes” to when making a decision. In essence, this is about understanding the implied tasks behind the decision. Let’s suppose that I, in a fit of enthusiasm, have said “yes” to participating in a charity cycling event. What else have I said “yes” to?

  • intentional healthy eating choices, at least six days out of every seven
  • a non-negotiable training program, six days out of every seven, that will eventually consume up to four to five hours a day
  • a deliberate and ongoing program of fund-raising
  • the expenses associated with preparing for the event (e.g. a full bicycle tune-up)
  • the time and expenses required to actually participate in the event

If I fail to follow though on any of these implied tasks then, by default, I have said “no” to successfully completing the event that I registered for. No amount of visualization, positive thinking or threatening will change that. (This scenario is based on a true story.)

As leaders, “implied tasks” are very important for two reasons:

  • failure to manage our own “implied tasks” can lead to over-commitment and burnout

  • failure to understand the implications of “implied tasks” for our teams (and to communicate them successfully to others) can lead to overcommitment and burnout for our teams and create the perception in our clients that we “over-promise and under-deliver”.

What has been your experience with the “implied task monster”? Would you find it helpful to talk your situation through with a thinking partner who can be trusted to keep the conversation confidential? Contact me and let’s talk about it!