working in partnership with your executive assistant

Working in Partnership With Your Assistant Takes Commitment

Office Dynamics released a new Guide in October called Executive and Assistants Working in Partnership: The Definitive Guide. This amazing Guide is the culmination of 25 years of coaching work with executives and assistants. We immediately sold several hundred copies and have continued to sell the Guide at a very good pace.

Of course, we are eager to hear how the strategies in the Guide are helping executives and assistants be more productive and build better partnerships. We have been reaching out to purchasers either by phone call or email. We have received some good responses but also to our dismay, some people have not even looked through their Guide that they ordered months ago. Or we’ll hear an assistant say, “I’ve been going through the Guide but have not shared it with my executive yet.” Why not?

If executives and assistants want to be stronger teams and increase their productivity by 25% or more, they have to be committed; they have to make time for each other and have robust conversations and they have to be willing to change old habits and try new ideas. It will not happen on its own. This excerpt from our Executives and Assistants Working in Partnership Guide might explain it a little better.

WARNING: There Is No Magic (partnership takes commitment)

At this point, you’re likely feeling excited and (hopefully) ready to jump in with both feet. That’s great! But before you do, a quick warning and disclaimer: This Guide is not magic. Simply reading it will not create the outcomes you’re seeking. It only works if you work it. You have to implement what you learn. Both parties have to be willing participants. Joan and Chrissy are confident that the methods outlined in this manual will work for you, but we accept no responsibility for your actions. Without your mutual commitment, this Guide is just words on paper.

To assist you in the process, we recommend the following:

  • Give every process improvement at least 3 weeks before making a determination about whether to keep it or discard it. Research shows that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. DO NOT try something for 3 days and give up when it feels uncomfortable.
  • Track your progress along the way. Monitor what’s working and what’s not.
  • Keep the dialogue open as you go. You’ll hear a lot about communication in the following pages. It’s a critical part of the process and can’t be overemphasized.

*Special Note to Executives: Mutual commitment is absolutely essential for process improvement. We know you’re busy, and these kinds of “partnership focused” activities are easy to put off. However, they can also become highly urgent, critically important activities if not addressed early on. Don’t wait for the situation to become dire. Taking the time now will save more time in the future. Your Assistant is the most valuable person on your team. She has a direct, quantifiable impact on your performance. Depending on the relationship you build, that can be positive or negative, profitable or costly.

Also, let us be clear: YOU MUST BE INVOLVED. This is not about “fixing” your assistant. It requires effort on your part and, at times, you’ll need to make some necessary changes for the benefit of the partnership. We encourage you to view this as a long-term investment—not only in your Assistant and your partnership, but also in yourself and your career. The work you do today will serve you for years to come, with your current Assistant and future Assistants as well.

Why not make a commitment for 2016 to take your partnerships to the next level? Why settle for mediocrity when excellence is just around the corner….with a little extra work?

Joan Burge

Looking for more content on how to better partner with your executive assistant? Check out these related posts.

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