Working With an Executive Assistant
August 22, 2023
Welcome back to Business Unfiltered with Mercer and Jeff Sauer today's topic is the idea of working with an executive assistant.
0:00: What is an executive assistant? Mercer shares his thoughts on having an assistant and what it can do for you and the value you get out of it. Jeff talks about the misconceptions around having an an assistant. The difference between a virtual assistant and an executive assistant, and how they are different. How hiring an assistant is a life hack and exponential life hack, because it frees you up to do everything, even if you don't trust someone to book travel.
5:17: The difference between an executive assistant and a Va. The need for an executive assistant, and how it differs from other roles in the company. The need to change the level of trust and be open to being vulnerable in order to accept a virtual or executive assistant or EA. The connecting of the wires. The person who needs to make decisions is the one who has the ability to think and make decisions. The importance of having a good hiring process, a good interview process, and a good environment to earn trust and earn trust.
9:23: Onboarding your executive assistant. Onboarding with executive assistant, email and calendars, how to respond to emails, and how to manage email in general and calendar. The email GPS, a Dan Martell thing. Jeff looks at his email once an hour and puts it into six different folders or labels in Gmail. Jeff is inbox zero every day from 8am until 5pm. How much of a full-time job it is to check emails once an hour, and if it is a full time job. The three levels of tasks, daily tasks, weekly tasks, get it done by the end of the week, and when they can.
14:53: The importance of having an assistant. The importance of having an executive assistant to manage the sales pipeline, manage the calendar, review work, and be a buffer for the executive. An executive assistant is an extension of the executive, helping the executive get this or that task done for what their role is. The need for an assistant is to have a process in place so that the executive knows how they want it to be done. There is a huge difference between what needs to be done and being in the zone of optimal genius. The ideal day is nearly every single day because of the executive assistant. The executive assistant is for the person, not the company.
20:42: Trust is earned. The EA is not part of the company. The EA comes with the executive who has sold the company and is not involved. The personal aspect of the business. The speaker is handing off tasks that they don't like to do during the day. They are trying to figure out why they are not able to benefit from offloading. The feeling of not being important enough to talk to an executive assistant, and how to avoid it.
23:51: The difference between a personal email and a non-personal email. The rule-based way to do it is to say this is what a personal email looks like and what a non-personal email should look like. The email went out almost immediately after that call was done, and then she did a follow-up saying and she sent it as me. Jeff wants to make sure his assistant is doing it right. He wants to know his preferences and has a rolling preference document. Jeff has more time now after investing two to four weeks in onboarding his assistant, and it makes him more efficient.
27:47: The importance of having an assistant on all team calls. Jeff has a private email that can go back-channel to him directly for anyone that needs it. He takes notes and does the administrative stuff on it as needed. Jeff wants to eliminate the possibility of stuff where he is not trusting or if someone is doing something wrong. People trust too much to their email and too much of their email, and then it just sits there for 30 minutes instead of two or three hours in email. Shifting the mentality as to what can only go through you now, and how much free time you get. The hourly rate is such a delta difference that it's totally worth it, and it makes a ton of sense.
The big big takeaway here is what you were having to work on and realizing that parts and pieces of that might have to be pulled back to be put under one roll.
Topics Covered In This Episode
- Defining an Executive Assistant: We begin with a discussion around the role and value of an executive assistant, the differences between a virtual and an executive assistant, and common misconceptions about having an assistant. Exploring how having an assistant could exponentially enhance your life by freeing up time and resources.
- The Need for an Executive Assistant: Dive into why executives may require an assistant, how it differs from other roles, and the level of trust and vulnerability required to effectively work with an assistant.
- Onboarding an Executive Assistant: Discussion on the effective onboarding of an executive assistant including email and calendar management strategies, like the email GPS system. Importance of setting up processes for daily and weekly tasks is also highlighted.
- The Value of an Assistant: We explore the significance of an executive assistant in managing workloads like sales pipeline, calendars, and tasks. The concept of the "zone of optimal genius" and how an assistant can help an executive stay in this zone is discussed.
- Building Trust with your Assistant: Discussion around the unique relationship between the executive and assistant, noting the personal nature of this working relationship. We provide tips on how to offload tasks and how to avoid feeling unimportant when delegating tasks to an assistant.
- Email Management and Communication: We elaborate on the difference between personal and non-personal emails, rule-based approach to manage them, and the importance of clear communication. Then we take a look at how investing time in onboarding an assistant can result in more efficient email management.
- Involving the Assistant in Team Calls: We discuss the importance of having the assistant on team calls, and the utility of having a private, back-channel email for direct communication. The session concludes with a discussion on the importance of reassessing tasks that need the executive's direct involvement and the increased productivity that can be achieved by effectively using an assistant.