When Ethan Bull and Stephanie Bull asked me to write the foreword for their book, I was more than eager to dive into the much-needed conversation about how executive assistants can be leveraged by super busy executives like you. Why is it needed? In the fourteen countries where I train executive assistants, three of the most common frustrations are:
• My executive does not know what to do with me.
• The leaders in our company, including HR, do not understand what assistants really do.
• I am thinking about quitting because I can do so much more and feel bored.
If you are reading this book, then you are looking for answers about how to work with an EA. I am happy to cut to the chase and report that you have found exactly the right resource, written by two industry experts who have walked the walk for years. The title of the book is the heart of the matter. It’s about time. Saving your time, that is. It does not matter who we are, where we live, or how much money we have. We all only get twenty-four precious hours each day. The question becomes, what do we do with them?
You probably don’t have enough hours in your day and important things are falling through the cracks. Executive assistants can be the answer to most, and possibly all, of these issues. After all, if you don’t have any assistant, you are one. While it might seem faster to book your own flights, Ethan and Stephanie make a rock-solid case for how executives no longer need to do everything themselves. What a welcome relief.
As the former twenty-five-year assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis and author of Be the Ultimate Assistant, I train executive assistants who will eventually be supporting leaders like you. The great news is that this book clearly and accurately outlines the steps you need to take to find, onboard, train, retain, and best of all, experience the full superpowers of a well-chosen executive assistant.
What will not be a surprise is that, while an EA’s work can sometimes seem like magic, the process to get to that place is neither mysterious nor magical. To employ an EA who anticipates your needs and functions as an invaluable business partner takes time, hard work, and a commitment to the partnership, as is true of all important human-to-human relationships. This is especially true in our volatile workplace, made even more complex because of its remote and virtual environments in varied time zones. Ethan and Stephanie address all of these unprecedented demands with vivid and relatable examples, and they do it with heart and empathetic understanding.
One of the most valuable gems in the book is about empathy and shining a light on EAs who completely understand how tough it is to be a leader. Top EAs respect their leaders and do everything they can to free them of unnecessary work. In kind, the smartest leaders know to leverage the unique subject matter expertise of their EAs and to mutually respect their talent and skills. If there is any magical performance multiplication to be experienced, it is what happens when a leader and an EA are truly in sync. And that is all right in Chapter 1.
Like Ethan and Stephanie, I learned the nuances about the partnership between leaders and assistants from experience. We know that these relationships are not one-size-fits-all and every executive/EA partnership is specific to them. This is why it takes intentional effort to find “the one.”
This book proves that the time you take to focus on what you really need in an EA and then empowering that person to help you achieve your loftiest goals, will reap fruit beyond words. You will gain precious time back in your day, peace of mind that your priorities are being handled, and the freedom to do whatever it is that feeds your soul.
Now that’s magic.
Author, TEDx speaker