If Our Job is to Make You Perform Better, Help Us Do Our Job

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Guest post by GinaRose Kimball, Director of Administration, Catapult Groups

As the Director of Administration for Catapult Groups, I’m responsible for a wide array of duties—everything from collecting competitive bids on major projects to booking venues and speakers for Catapult Groups meetings. Every day action must be taken in order to keep work flowing smoothly and to ensure that future initiatives come off as planned. Some decisions I can make myself. But for bigger concerns, such as large budget expenditures or changes in our strategic policy, the decision is up to our CEO.

In order to keep the business moving forward and to avoid logjams, follow the procedures outlined below.

How to avoid logjams

Things were the same when I worked as an executive assistant to a senior executive at Walt Disney Studios. This individual and others on the senior executive team were responsible for making multi-million dollar decisions. They were also extremely busy and not given to paying attention to the small details. That was my responsibility. But when the time came to sign off on important projects, I was unable to move forward until they took action. And many times they only took action after I pressed them to do it.

Your executive assistant understands better than anyone else how hard you work as CEO and how little time you have for everything on your plate. We’re here to help, but we can only do that if you work with us to keep things running smoothly.

Inaction or indecision on your part creates a logjam that can cost the business money and resources. But taking a few simple steps can address this situation and turn it into a win/win for all involved:

  1. Schedule a brief “power meeting” once a day or three times a week. This is when you and your assistant review what’s on your calendar, what actions need to be taken on specific projects, where money needs to be spent, etc. Once you set up a schedule, stick to it.
  2. If a regularly scheduled power meeting doesn’t work, make yourself accessible via other means. With all the methods of communication available to us these days—phone, email, instant messaging, etc.—there’s no reason to be out of touch with your assistant. If you’ve both arranged things correctly, he or she will come to you with only those action items that you must decide on in order to move forward.

How to make things happen

Our responsibility is to come to the meeting armed with (a) an outline of the immediate tasks ahead and (b) deadlines for making a decision. We’re here to take care of minutiae so your time is spent on strategic thinking.

I think I can speak for the legions of executive assistants and support staff out there who work tirelessly on behalf of their CEO bosses. It’s our job to follow up on tasks and projects and to make things happen. Wherever possible, give up a little control so we can get more done for you. If our job is to make you perform better, help us do our job.

Brad Mishlove