Why do so many executives work without assistants? Years ago, it was common for all executives to have a dedicated executive assistant to help them with scheduling, typing, travel arrangements and other tasks. That enabled the executive to focus on the most important things, such as creating and executing company strategy.
During the economic downturn a few years ago, overhead cuts were made, and many administrative positions were eliminated. Additionally, automation and computer literacy increased, with many executives doing much of their work from their phone or tablet. As a result, fewer executives have assistants.
Now that the economy has improved, and business is on an upswing, why are people still not utilizing executive assistants? When I ask that question, I am often told things such as, “It’s easier and faster to do everything myself.” Or, “That is a luxury I can’t afford right now.”
Yet I see those same executives working very long hours and still not getting important things done. They are not taking the time to think strategically because they are too busy doing all of the small stuff. Their company likely will not be able to grow as efficiently and effectively because they have become the bottleneck for their business. If they are already working long hours, they cannot take on any additional work. Most importantly, they may be missing major market shifts that could either provide terrific opportunities or significant risks to their business.
My Vistage members who have hired executive assistants have been able to effectively train and delegate much of the busywork they were previously handling themselves. Trained administrative personnel can often perform those same tasks in less time and with fewer mistakes. They can create efficient systems and processes, streamlining operations, and reducing wasted time within the organization. This increased efficiency often more than covers the cost of the added overhead.
Those executives now have time in their day to step back and evaluate market trends, and create and execute the appropriate strategies for their business. Most importantly, they can scale their business and grow at a much more rapid pace than ever before, allowing the executive to achieve their dreams.