8 Little Words Make a BIG Difference
“What can I do to get this started?” I will never forget how my life changed as an executive when Jasmine Freeman, Chief Executive Assistant, asked me that question. I was standing outside Jasmine’s office on my way out the front door. I was going to be gone for a few days to conduct an administrative training program. I was giving her a quick update on something I had to do when I got back in town.
You might be wondering why this a big deal and how this changed my life. Well, Jasmine had already been working as my executive assistant for several years. During the previous years when I was working on something or getting ready to start a new project, like 99% of assistants, Jasmine would normally ask:
• “Is there anything I can do for you?”
• “Is there anything I can help with?”
Well, it was easy for me (like many executives), to say “No. I’m set for now.”
But when Jasmine changed her question to “What can I do to get this started?” I changed my thinking. I switched to thinking, “Ok, what can Jasmine do to get this started? What can I delegate to her? Is there a phone call she can make for me? Or is there research she can do? What would be my next step and can Jasmine do that?” Because of that, I always came up with at least one action she could take to get the ball rolling.
Since that time, I have been teaching executive assistants, secretaries, and administrative assistants to change their question. The reason is because assistants need to take the initiative to get their executives to delegate more to them… Yes… I said more. Too many executives are doing tasks they should not be doing or are slowed down on a project or even preparing for a meeting because they are too busy dealing with the business at hand. A star-performing administrative or executive assistant takes the initiative to assist his or her executive as much as possible.
As we take a closer look at the administrative profession later in April in honor of Administrative Professionals Day (and Week), let’s dig deep into how you can take your career to the next level by focusing on the little things.