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Did You Give Access to Your EA to Your Personal Bank Account?

Bon jour! This is Cyril from Work Smarter Live Better. In this video, I want to talk to you about a very simple topic, how to work smarter with your EA or your team assistant or team support.

I’m at the moment in Brussels, in Belgium. You can see behind me the beautiful Grand Place. I was working last night with a team of managers and one of them had a very interesting question. He said, “How do I work smarter with my EA? “, and they all resonated. Because they all had either EA, or team assistant, or team support. It’s not an easy relationship. First of all, when you are very busy, he or she gets very busy. There’s almost a throw on effect. And normally, he or she gets very busy from you but she gets bombarded with a lot of other things from your colleagues, from your clients, from your boss. And her or his efficiency or effectiveness has a direct impact on your efficiency and effectiveness. I’ve seen very often managers blaming their EA and saying “It’s because of her. She’s not as efficient as she could be.” It’s not 100% her fault. Are you not some part to blame for?

I have three very simple advice for you regarding this relationship.

The first one is about expectation. My number one advice is about expectation. You need to be very clear, what are your expectation? There’s three levels of VA. There’s the efficient one, the effective one, there’s the proactive. The efficient one, she does everything right. You give her something or give him something to do, it’s done on time as expected. It’s not an EA, it’s actually a secretary. Not an EA. It’s an admin person. He or she should manage your time. It’s just an admin job. The second level is the effective one. The effective one is normally, he or she is very efficient but also really good understanding of your priority, your time, they can really manage your diary. He or she needs to have full control. Your EA needs to have full control of your day. The third level is a proactive, and they’re very few. The proactive is, your EA takes control. He or she will completely suggesting for you, manage things for you, he’ll tell you not to do things. He’s guiding, he’s running the show. The first thing is you need to be very clear about your expectation because you can’t recruit a secretary and expect him or her to be and EA. It’s a different kind of recruitment. It’s a different kind of person. It’s different kind of salary. Number 1 is about expectation.

Number 2 is about clarity. What I mean by clarity is, if you want someone who is efficient and effective, you need to be really clear about your priority, about what’s really important for you. I asked a question yesterday to this manager, “Have you given access to your EA, to your bank account?” Does she manage your money, your personal money? The answer was “No, of course not.” Well you have given her access to something much more important which is your time. If you don’t tell your EA how you manage your time, what’s really important, if you don’t really explain all the rule about managing your time like you would do for your money, how do you want him or her to manage your time very well? So your clarity about your time management is very important for your EA.

The third principle is the operating rhythm. What do I mean about operating rhythm? I’ve seen too many EAs in the dark. They say, “We’re expected to manage everything for our managers but we have no idea what he wants us to do, we have no communication.” They’re completely in the dark. You need to create an operating rhythm. Every quarter, explain your priorities. We have an exercise with our client that we call the compass plan, a 90-day plan. A 90-day plan needs to be crystal clear with your EA. Number 2, on a weekly basis, every week you need to sit down and plan next week or the next 2 weeks. Explain to him or her what you are going to do. Explain what you are not going to do and ask him or her to manage that in your diary. Quarterly, weekly and then daily. You need to have a quick 15-minute daily catch up to instruct your EA.

First is about expectation. Second is about clarity. Third is about operating rhythm.

Well, hope you enjoy the video blog of this week in Brussels. If you like it, click on the link. Also, if you’ve got any idea, any tips that you want to share with me and with everyone else about your relationship with your EA, just write it down below, just leave a comment and we’ll start the conversation here. Thank you very much. Have a lovely day.

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