Why are Assistants Always “Putting out Fires”?
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“An utterly frustrated assistant asked me “Why is everything last minute? Why am I always putting out fires?”
The nature of business is that situations change constantly and rapidly. Things happen and they have to be dealt with, whether it’s clients who have last-minute issues, a boss who is stranded en route, or technology that is malfunctioning. The executive assistant is the go-to person, so that’s who people go to. On a daily basis you wear many hats and you will be asked to put on any number of those hats at a moment’s notice. Knowing this, realize that flexibility is key. To quote management guru, Gary Hamel, you must be “as nimble as change itself.”
Businesses are not static. They are alive and constantly recalibrating, so you, dear assistant, have to constantly recalibrate with it. The assistant’s role is not for the faint of heart. You have to develop a stomach for uncertainty and learn to thrive on the challenge. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with apprehension about what fire will erupt next. There are things within your control and your job is to take control in order to lessen the chance of fires flaring up unexpectedly.”
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Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.
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