https://www.bonnielowkramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Leave-Your-Legacy-Blog-Aug-24-2020-768x432-1.jpg 432 768 Bonnie Low-Kramen /wp-content/uploads/2020/08/bonnie-low-logo.png Bonnie Low-Kramen2020-08-24 13:28:052022-01-25 13:55:35Looking Ahead – What’s Your Legacy?
Looking Ahead – What’s Your Legacy?
By Bonnie Low-Kramen
Does anyone really know what tomorrow is going to bring? I sure don’t. That is the reason we need to have a succession plan – for assistants.
Succession Planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace current leaders when they leave, retire, or die. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to assume these roles as they become available.
Historically, succession planning is an initiative that has not been applied to assistants. However, the volatile world around us and many other factors are making it necessary and important to ensure smooth business continuity – no matter what happens.
We know that Executive Assistants are the backbones of companies and the right arms to their executives. In a workplace that is increasingly more complicated because of the pandemic crisis, the administrative staff plays a key role in the maintenance of a stable company.
Whether in times of crisis or times of calm (when was that anyway?) Executive Assistants understand that for their executive to be the most effective, the EA must be prepared to take over the functions that are not suited for the executive’s time. Top EAs must be resilient and agile to respond to the what-ifs of serious vulnerability. That time is right now.
So, What If?
- What if…assistants start leaving in significant numbers because they are retiring?
- What if…assistants leave suddenly because they are sick with Covid-19?
- What if…assistants leave suddenly because a family member is ill?
The question then becomes, Are you ready?
- How many EAs support the CEO’s office?
- How’s your team’s back-up system?
- What’s your single point of failure?
- Is your Procedures Manual up to date?
- Are you worried by one or more of these questions?
If so, read more.
If you believe that your company and/or your department is vulnerable, now is the time to initiate discussions with your team and your executives about what to do about it.
- Protect the Top
Now would be the time to have more than one person supporting the CEO’s office. In many offices throughout the world, to only have one EA supporting the CEO and/or the C-suite is viewed as a single point of failure. Avoid this now.
- Back-Up & Cross-Training
New systems are needed in our virtual workplaces and that can mean re-thinking back-up systems and cross-training plans for the administrative team. This ensures smooth continuity if any one person is taken out suddenly. This is succession planning.
- Document Procedures & Create a Sharing System
Now would be the time to revisit the idea that no single person can be the only one who holds critical information, such as passwords. Whether it is Office365 or other digital and cloud-based platforms, make it your priority to not only protect the data but to share it safely. That way if any one person needs to leave the organization, even with very short notice, there is a plan in place to protect business continuity.
Can these conversations be uncomfortable to have? Yes. Are they necessary? Yes.
The uncertainty of the world around us continues to create more questions than we have answers. The administrative staff occupies a vital role to keep asking the questions that protect our companies and the people who work in them.
When we look at the present and the future of the Executive Assistant profession, we must commit to life-long learning to respond to our ever-changing workplace and to all the what ifs.
At Be the Ultimate Assistant On Demand and Virtual Workshops, I teach our students how to prepare for and handle the what ifs, whatever they may be. If you are looking to make a real difference, work at the top of your game, and to ensure business continuity, you have come to the right place.
I am Bonnie Low-Kramen, TEDx speaker, author of “Be the Ultimate Assistant” and trainer of Executive Assistants all over the world. In May, 2019, I was featured in a Forbes online cover story. As part of the research for my second book about the workplace to be published in 2022, I have had over 1,000 conversations with assistants, leaders, HR professionals, recruiters, and business school professors. I have worked in 14 countries and 38 states and would love to work with you towards building your ultimate workplace. Click here to set up a time to speak with me about your training needs which can be delivered virtually or in person.