The Assistant role offers an opportunity to be a trusted confidant, effectiveness multiplier, and servant-hearted leader.
The First 30 Days are Crucial to Your Executive Assistant & Executive Partnership
3 key reasons the first 30 days are foundationally important to the success of your partnership.
Starting a new role as an executive assistant can be overwhelming. There are so many new people, processes, and preferences to learn. It is a steep hill to climb, and often it can seem like the leader you’re working for doesn’t have the time to teach you the things you need to know for success.
The onboarding period is probably the most important time in the lifecycle of a partnership between an executive and executive assistant. I know this is a big statement, but I stand by it. This blog post is going to unpack 3 things to keep in mind during the first 30 days. These 30 days are so formative in establishing the framework for a successful partnership.
1. You are building trust. Entering a new professional partnership does not guarantee trust. Trust is something to build and earn. I often tell the executive assistants I work with, “You need to earn the right to be heard.” How do you do this? You lead the charge with a deliberate investment beginning on Day 1. You stay consistent, and you do what you say you are going to do.
2. You are learning how to communicate. Every single person has different communication styles and personal preferences around tracking projects, priorities, and roadblocks. As I work with executive assistants gearing up for a new job, we talk in detail about how open, frequent, and honest communication cannot be compromised or replaced with anything. I encourage executive assistants to schedule 1-1’s either via Zoom or in-person twice a week for the first 30 days. I have never chatted with an EA about their role and gotten feedback that they are communicating too much with their leader. However, I very frequently hear from assistants who say they haven’t had enough communication with their leader to be trained properly. Do not let your leader slip into this rhythm. Communicate frequently, and put it on the calendar. This is a non-negotiable for those first several weeks.
3. You are getting your bearings. An executive knows they need help, but they don’t often know what that means. As the expert executive assistant, it is your job to triage the situation and make a plan. This requires a significant and thoughtful approach that doesn’t happen overnight. Being able to communicate this expectation to your leader helps level-set everyone’s feelings and give a clear path forward. This approach is the “gold standard,” but it requires an agreement on time investment. Those first 30 days truly act as an intake period. If you can clearly and carefully diagnose the most urgent needs and put steps in place to alleviate that stress, you will build a solid foundation.
As you can see, the first 30 days of a new partnership are critical to building a framework for success. I recognize it will feel like a lot of work and take a considerable amount of time. But the rate of success in early investment to adoption is significantly higher when the onboarding is prioritized.
The first 30 days are so critical to establishing a strategic partnership. If you’re starting a new role, I hope you work with an executive who drives this process and ensures you have a great first 30 days!
Unfortunately, as Anna mentioned, all too often your new executive is busy and might not even know what to do or that they should be doing anything.
Anna gives you some great insights on what you can be thinking about and what you can do to help ensure a successful onboarding experience.
Emmre is executive assistant software created by an executive and assistant for executives and assistants. Emmre's mission is to help supercharge productivity and maximize the strategic partnership between executives and executive assistants.