Work On Progress Tasks To Get Noticed

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Progress Tasks at Work
  • Influencing

"When one door closes another door opens; but we look so long and, so regretfully, upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us

Alexander Graham Bell

A progress task is one that you believe will move you towards a position that is fundamentally better than the present one.

A maintenance task will move you towards a position you have been in before.

For example:

1. Buying a new car may be progress; filling up with petrol is maintenance. It leaves you where you have been before.

2. Carrying out an established process/procedure/system at work is maintenance; examining the process, making recommendations for improvements, and successfully implementing those improvements is progress.

3. Hitting targets is maintenance; exceeding targets is progress.


The people who get noticed in organisations these days are the progressive managers - they find time in their busy days to 'stick their neck out'. Doing it in the right way is seen by others as effective, efficient and builds reputation with senior managers.

Why do maintenance tasks get done first?

  • They are obvious to all (progress tasks are possibly the only ones in your mind).
  • They are often urgent e.g. doing a weekly report (progress tasks are rarely urgent).
  • You know how to do them (progress tasks are usually new and involve uncertainty - we love to stay in our comfort zone).
  • You feel safe doing them (progress tasks usually involve greater risk).

Are you a maintenance manager or a progressive manager? Delegation is a good way of getting more progress tasks completed.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas"

George Bernhard Shaw

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