At my company, the “assistant” position is going away. No one wants to be an assistant (“Oh my gosh, I’m not an assistant, I don’t run for coffee!”) and no executive thinks he or she really needs one (“I don’t need an assistant, I have a smart phone!”)
I see a bunch of people who just don’t get it.
An assistant is an executive’s partner in business. If an executive is only using his assistant to keep a calendar and make flight arrangements, I have to wonder how he or she escalated to that position. An assistant is so much more.
ChiefExecutive.com’s article “How to Get the Most Out of Your Executive Assistant” hit the nail on the head. The directives were:
- Include your executive assistant in strategy meetings
- Keep your assistant informed about important business issues
- Use your assistant as a sounding board
I say, yes. All that and more.
In the article, former Charles Schwab CEO David Pottruck talked about how his assistant handled all of his budget meetings for him, allowing him to have one 10-minute meeting with the finance department instead of the several 45-minute meetings that seemed to be his fate. She also met with the leaders of a charitable organization on a regular basis, managing the company’s sponsorship.
Both of those tasks free up her executive’s time and move company objectives forward. And, as a Revolutionary Assistant, you should be using your business acumen to do the same for your executive. By doing that, you’re adding value to your own position and to the administrative position.
And for those of you that are already reaching for your copy of Finance for Dummies, there is no need to force yourself to learn something new to do this. Reach, instead, into your arsenal of skills and lend help where you can serve best. For instance, my executive wouldn’t let me anywhere near the budget, but he never looked at a newsletter or wrote a memo the whole time I worked for him.
In whatever way you’re a business partner to your executive, know that putting those skills into gear is what the future of the administrative position is all about. Like we mentioned in the very first article, without taking these steps to be a good business partner, the administrative position will become obsolete.
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