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Your Administrative Assistant & You

April 18, 2014

What if there was a way to help your administrative assistant be 100% more effective,  66% less frustrated… how about 33% happier?  I don’t know about the exact numbers, you can plug them in.  But I do know there’s a couple of things you probably aren’t doing right now, that if you would just start doing them daily, you would not only help your admin, but you would also help yourself… a lot.  Keep reading, this one’s short and fairly painless ;).

It requires a bit of a mind shift, and just a small change to one area of your daily work habits.

 1.  First let’s do the mind shift part.

First of all, when you think of your admin, what do you think of as their primary job role, or primary way to help you or create value?

Look at this definition of admins I pulled from a good article by Chrissy Scivicque, and see if it matches up to what you were thinking.
… the folks who manage the monstrous flow of paperwork throughout your office. The ones who handle the barrage of incoming phone calls and in person visitors? The good people who book your travel, and schedule your meetings, and basically keep the rest of your team running at full speed.”

If that’s how you described them, I think you missed it.  Missed the biggest value they can create for you.

So what’s that?

Let me ask you two questions and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

1. Is more value created if admins help you get your top priorities completed, or if they just filter out incoming calls and requests… given that both have their place?  What’s your answer?

Here’s the other question.

2. Isn’t one of your biggest challenges getting up-to-date information, status updates, follow-ups on follow-throughs?  If so, who helps you with that?

Get where I’m going.  Most of us are using admin resources for reasonable purposes, but missing badly where they can provide the most value.  I bet this includes you.  It certainly includes me if I don’t pay attention.

So to begin with, shift your mental definition for how your admin staff can provide the most value.  Because, it isn’t handling incoming calls, and scheduling your next flight, or guarding your calendar, although all of those are important.  Let me spell it out, the way they provide the most value is by:

1. Helping you get what’s priority one completed each day, and
2. By helping you keep your executive information system up-to-date, e.g. by following up on follow through for you and documenting the results.

Got your brain wrapped around that?  Now let’s go to this simple change to your daily work habit.

First of all it would be helpful if you shared what your top priorities are with your admin?  And by-the-way, were you planning on doing that at the start of the day, or after the day was already spent… when the top priorities either did or didn’t get accomplished? 😉

You see the first little daily habit shift is to set and review “What’s priority today” (this week) with your admin.  I don’t know a better way to be on the same page, especially when you define what they can do to help you.

2. But here’s the second habit change.  Don’t just talk about it.

You see, when I talk to my admin, and rattle off half a dozen things that are critical to cover for that day, how will I know what got accomplished (likely 80% or higher) and what didn’t (until I hear about it! or something else slips)?  What I experience, is that talking about it sort of helps.  It makes me feel good, like I’ve covered the topics, but in reality it just sets another follow-up problem in motion.  I’m sure it does the same for you.

So here’s the second habit change.  And this applies to priorities, and also having them collect status updates for me.  Do this.

Don’t just talk about it, type each of the priorities or requests as separate to-dos into ManagePro.  I assign them to my admin and to myself.  As my admin get’s them accomplished, she leaves me a time and date stamped note right in the to-do.  Absolutely dialed in.  We’re a team and I love it, and you will to.  I don’t wonder, she’s doesn’t fret.  Do yourself and your admin a favor and try what I’m suggesting, you’ll be glad you did, and they will tell you they’re less stressed and doing less mind reading.  This applies to to-dos as well as tracking down updates so my executive information system in ManagePro is up-to-date.

Bottom Line:
You and your admin can create a much more high power team, and take a lot of stress out of your life and your admin’s life, if you make a simple shift in your thinking and in your daily habits.  Think priorities and collecting updates as your admin’s highest value and start daily reviewing and documenting them, and you’ll be pleased with the results… and your admin will feel a lot more valued in the process.

P.S.  If the concept of a Executive Information System, or the experience of having current status updates of everything that’s important… is a fuzzy concept or just wishful thinking.  Check out this past blog or do a search for EIS on my blog to get more info.  http://rodneybrim.com/executive-information-systems-belly-fat-your-garage


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