Doing exactly what you’re told is overrated. Of course you’ve got to build trust and integrity by doing the things that you’ve been assigned or that you’ve committed to. But doing only and precisely that which you’ve been asked? Not good enough.
We all have job descriptions, tasks, assignments and projects. These are all things we’re “supposed” to do. What about then the things we “should” do?
“Should” is a bit vague but that’s the point. “Should” typically represents all those soft things that go unsaid. A few examples?
Asking the next person in the project line if they need help
Providing more than one option
Sitting down and listening (actually listening) if someone doesn’t “get it / you”
Teaching someone a new skill
Pointing out a better way
Anticipating a roadblock
Documenting what you’ve done
Asking questions until you really understand
Finishing with enough time to check, then check again for mistakes
Etc. (this could go on forever)
Why do we miss this stuff? Why is this stuff (the important stuff) always the first to go?
When time gets tight (and it always does), we tend to get our blinders on. We stop thinking of the project as a whole and instead, focus in our our small portion of it.
When this happens it becomes all about “you”. When time is not on your side you do the bare minimum that you have to do deliver right now, so you can move on to the next soul-crushing deadline.
I get it - I’ve been there. But the work “in between” the work is exactly where you can make the most impact.
The space between the tasks is where you can differentiate yourself. Where you can manage your personal brand and perception. Where you can make the project better.
What you do in between your tasks is what defines you. It’s what defines your style. And it’s how you can manage who wants to work with you.
If you want to be better. If you want to grow try to make time for the work that goes un noticed. The “in between” is where you go to “level-up”.