Calling All Assistants—Secret to Building a Strategic Partnership

For more than 15 years I have been teaching assistants how to build a strategic partnership with their executives. I especially spend a lot of time on this topic in my World Class Assistant™ designation course. A strategic partnership is quite different from just building a partnership with your executive or just working as a team. An example of how they would be different is that in a partnership the assistant and executive will have weekly or daily huddles. In a strategic partnership, the assistant and executive meet quarterly to discuss (in detail) the upcoming quarter. They look at every facet of what is expected to occur, new projects, how much time might they be involved, who is going to manage what, and more. This quarterly meeting will last 2 – 3 hours.


There is a secret I want to share with you. As I reflect on my 20-year career as an assistant, I know something special takes place when you have a strategic partnership. It is more than the work you do. I call it The Anatomy of a Strategic Partnership.


The Brains

Use them! You and your executive use your skills to the optimum in order to be a successful duo. You arrive at the office with all your senses engaged (aka as a Cognitive Being!). You think through all the steps (i.e., beginning, middle, and finale) related to projects, situations, tasks, actions, and relationships. Your partner must be free to focus on work and think at a high level.


Then to keep everything moving and engage with your executive in working together in tandem, the following skills must operate in high gear:

  • Communication
  • Organization (This includes keeping schedules, files, projects, people, your executive’s work and your own desk, flowing smoothly!)
  • Time and project management (Stop multi-tasking and partition your time for focused action. Know the deadlines to your project and manage them.)
  • Preparation (Do you arrive flustered, scattered, and blow in like the wind? Or do you arrive early, have supplies and meeting tools in place, ready to roll with the demands of business?)
  • Cooperation (This includes managing expectations, knowing where your boundaries are, teamwork, managing perceptions, recognizing you are on stage at all times.)
  • Self-management (You. Own. Your. Moods. Feelings. Thoughts. Actions.)

The Heart

You genuinely care about each other—your successes and happiness. You are aware when something is going on in the other person’s personal life that can affect their work. You also are excited when your work partner has a success, their child graduates, or their spouse receives a promotion. It is not a “weird” or “getting personal” thing. It’s all on the up and up.


The Soul

This is about using emotional intelligence (EI) which is not the same as getting emotional. There are four dimensions of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-Awareness (I know me.)
  2. Self-Management (I manage me.)
  3. Social Awareness (I try to know you.)
  4. Social Skill or Relationship Management (I attempt to facilitate situations for a positive outcome.)

I love it when an executive and his or her assistant both use emotional intelligence in building their strategic partnership. Do you see how much further your relationship will go and be improved if you apply E.I.?



Build A Better Partnership Bundle is the perfect combination of tools for you and your executive to strengthen your partnership.


Like this article? Share it!

Scroll to Top

Join Our Administrative Community

Join a community of administrative professionals who have taken advantage of our free career development tools. You will receive FREE ACCESS to Webinars, Monday Motivators, Special Discounts, Email Announcements, and much more!
By filling out this form and clicking submit, I agree to receive emails from Office Dynamics International. You may unsubscribe at any time from the bottom of our emails.