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I came across a great article in the Havard Business Review  earlier this week. It makes the case that having good executive assistants can seriously boost the productity and effectiveness of an organisation.

I have personally experienced the difference between poor administrators and excellent administrators  when I worked in a number of different organisations – both in the public and the private sector. Senior management and Human Resources often undervalue the contribution of secretaries to the results achieved by the various teams/departments within organisations. Instead, success is over attributed to technicians and management. While good technical personnel and good leaders definitely are needed, a project’s chance of success can be greatly increased by having the right support.

Having strong and capable assistants allows technicians and management to concentrate on their roles. It means that good records are kept, logistics are well organised and communication channels are properly facilited.

An extract from the article:
For the organization to break even, the assistant must make the executive 8% more productive than he or she would be working solo—for instance, the assistant needs to save the executive roughly five hours in a 60-hour workweek. In reality, good assistants save their bosses much more than that. They ensure that meetings begin on time with prep material delivered in advance. They optimize travel schedules and enable remote decision making, keeping projects on track. And they filter the distractions that can turn a manager into a reactive type who spends all day answering e-mail instead of a leader who proactively sets the organization’s agenda. As Robert Pozen writes in this issue: A top-notch assistant “is crucial to being productive.”

If you feel you or your organisation could benefit from training personnel in being effective assistants, we have a course coming up in July 2013Effective Secretaries and Personal Assistants Workshop. Do what the smart organisations in the world do and give your administrative personnel  the skills to provide strong support to their managers, directors and teams.

Book recommendation: This week I read Nouriel Robini’s Crisis Economics, which I would say is a good overall introduction to financial crises. If you would like other book recommendations, please feel free to email symone@alexanderbrookes.com