Book Review: The CEO’s Secret Weapon by Jan Jones

CEOsSecretAs an C-Level operative or an senior executive in a busy company, you will find that the  draws upon your time are varied and frequent. Commensurate with your compensation, you must focus on the tasks that require your personal attention and not those that can be done by someone that is better suited to the task. You don’t want to be working on tasks that are worth £10 per hour when you are being compensated at £100 per hour.

Your ally in the battle for making sure you focus where you ought is the Executive Assistant. In The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness, Jan Jones discusses the importance of a efficient and effective Executive assistant and their role in making sure you operate at maximum productivity and effectiveness.

A good executive assistant manages your diary, protects your time for the work that is relevant to you, understands your scope of responsibility and ‘horizon scans’ to ensure that opportunities that are relevant to you are brought to your attention. More than just a strong right hand but a set of ears and eyes and a diplomatic voice too.

The book has lots of examples for you to learn from the experience of others and is crafted into 4 main parts:

Part 1 discusses the relationships between executives and their assistants. It goes a long way to defining what an ‘exceptional executive assistant’ is and how they they operate.

Part 2 discusses the important characteristics that exceptional executive assistants have in common and how they are critical to both your day-to-day routine and your success as an executive.

Part 3 discusses the processes, resources and skills that will help you identify an exceptional assistant. This chapter is interesting because if offers some unconventional interviewing techniques and challenges that can be used to filter the great from the merely good.

Part 4 looks more deeply into the relationship between the executive and assistant. A highly practical section, it offers a guide to setting up a successful partnership between you and your assistant. This isn’t just a set of parameters that the assistant must operate by, but also the parameters by which, you the executive in the partnership, also need to work. You have some responsbilities to the assistant if you want the partnership to work. And you do, because the assistant network will soon spread the word that you are perhaps not the most worthy of their support!

The CEO’s Secret Weapon, offers both the guidance and direction to develop a successful business partnership with your assistant and offers some practical tools to recruit and train on how best to work with them on a day-to-day basis. Failure to engage well with your assistant with leave you both underperforming and not getting the most out of the relationship.

If you are looking to maximise your time and focus on the things that are both relevant and worthy of your time then an efficient and effective executive assistant it critical to your success. While targeted more at the corporate executive, there is merit in an executive assistant even if you are a new entrepreneur. Putting your time and effort where it really matters is the true value of an executive and your assistant will help do exactly that.

Dare to Aspire

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