No one is immune to germs, and everyone likes to take a vacation. But when you’re a Revolutionary Assistant, you’re indispensible. So you must stay chained to your desk. We have no choice in the matter, we’re just too important.
Unless we have a manual, that is.
I like to have a binder of “how to be me” stored in my desk, for just such instances where I catch the flu or decide to make a trip to see my in-laws. After all, I can’t be at the office every day. The binder helps anyone – including my manager – find what they need and keep business running smoothly.
If you don’t have a manual and would like to create one, here are some ideas of the kinds of things you might include:
A small section on company information – If I should be out for a while, I would like my replacement to be armed with mission statements, organizational charts, and company policies on things like email, travel, expenses, etc. I revisit this section frequently to add updates.
Login information for databases and programs you control – I am, for instance, the manager of our travel program in our office. I manage all of our company-wide air miles programs, the settings for the controls that keep our employees from renting the presidential suite at the Four Seasons in San Francisco. When I’m away, someone else may need to get into those programs, so I keep the login information stored in my binder. Remember that if your login information gives you access to employees’ personal information or the company’s financial information, your binder should be kept under lock and key, and its whereabouts only known by a few trusted people.
Insight into my filing system – It’s likely that my manager may want a document or a file while I’m away. If your filing system isn’t logical and well known, it might be wise to outline your method. Make sure to include your electronic filing method in your outline, too!
Important forms and checklists – I fill out a dozen different forms for my manager, ones that he doesn’t even know we need to submit. I have checklists for different things I do, like collecting signatures from the board of directors for resolutions, or assembling the pieces of a project that needs to be complete before I can turn it over to the next owner. These forms and checklists, along with an explanation of why and when they’re used, should be included.
A collection of important contacts for you and your manager – If you frequently talk to the board of directors, include a contact list with their names and phone numbers in the binder for your temporary replacement. A list of who your company orders lunch from for meetings, or where to get flowers if you need to send some to a client, can also be very helpful!
Anything else you do routinely for your manager – If you make sure his coffee is on his desk every day or call his direct report every Wednesday to remind him of their status meeting, include that in your notes as well.
Having a manual is an excellent idea, even if you’re not planning any time off. Putting it together is a great exercise in revisiting all the things you do daily, so you can demonstrate your added value. It’s a good reference tool even for you, to have all of your information in one place. Think about creating the “how to be me” book for your manager and temporary replacement – you won’t regret the time you invest!
Next post: Wednesday, March 12