You Don't Need a Clone, You Need an Executive Assistant

Why a force-multiplying, strategic partner with complementary skills is way better than a clone.

“If only there were two of me, I could…”

Take a moment to finish the sentence.

Seriously. I’ll wait.

In our time-crunched culture, it sometimes feels as if we frequently hit a wall and we think the only way to increase our output and effectiveness would be to double ourselves. With our professional and personal responsibilities, we can become so caught up in the demands that daydreaming about a clone actually becomes an appealing pastime - along with wishing for more hours in a day.

How many more projects and initiatives would you take on? If there were two of you, maybe you could finally dedicate more time to improving your company’s culture. Maybe you could stay on top of the newest trends and read all the latest leadership books. Maybe you could devote more time to your family.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

And it is. I’m not here to announce that we’ve completed a scientific breakthrough that would allow you to 3-D print a copy of yourself. In fact, I’m here to tell you that having a clone (or, at the very least, someone who thinks and acts exactly like you) would be a terrible idea.

Let me explain.

If there were two of you running around your office, you’d probably expect (or hope) your productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness would skyrocket. I’ve actually given this scenario some thought, and I think the exact opposite would happen.

For starters, just because you have a clone wouldn’t mean you’d have the ability to read each other’s minds or be at the same place at once.

You’d still have to work out a system to effectively communicate and keep each other up to speed on what was going on.

You’d have to frequently update each other and ensure each of you knew all the decisions that each of you were making.

You’d have to stay in sync on how to answer all questions from people; you certainly couldn’t give different answers to the same question!

And everything you found helpful or inspiring, you’d have to ensure your clone (or vice versa) acquired the same information or inspiration to ensure your goals and values were consistently aligned.

It’d be exhausting.

You would spend so much time filling each other in on the details and nuances of the day, that you’d lose any productivity gain you’d expected from having a clone in the first place.

And, perhaps most importantly, you’d probably find yourself doubly hampered by your own faults. Think about it. Do you ignore email? Do you forget to follow up with people? Are your meetings unorganized and boring?

Your clone would have the exact same problems, and your people would suffer for it.

Our desire to work with another version of ourselves is rooted in the idea that it would double our efforts, as well as, quite frankly, a lack of trust in other people. Far too often, we’re blind to our own faults… until we’re confronted with the consequences of our shortcomings. A clone would only serve to be a mirror image of ourselves, a constant reflection of our constraints and limitations.

Who wants to order a clone now?

Of course, I’m not really talking about clones to paint some dystopian picture of the future workplace. You don’t need futuristic technology to fall into the same trap I’ve described above.

I only want to address the fact that almost every busy executive, agent, business owner, etc has thought to themselves, “If only I could clone myself!” and not thought enough about the better alternative…

“I need a great executive assistant!”

An assistant will be good at the things you are not good at. They will take things off your plate that deplete your energy. They will not 2x your efforts like you dreamed a clone could do, but would 4x or 10x your results. An assistant isn’t a carbon copy of you; they are a complementary partner to you.

Kristie was such a great example of this. Sometimes I would forget how much she actually enjoyed some of the tasks that needed to be done, but that I hated doing. Additionally, I always found it interesting how some of the tasks I most enjoyed, she would prefer not to take on. Kristie could do so many things better than I ever could. One of the happiest sounds of my day was the alert on my phone indicating Kristie had taken care of another task we needed to accomplish that day.

Kristie didn’t help me double what needed to be done, she multiplied my efforts significantly more than that! And it wasn’t because she could do what I could do. It was because she could do so many things better than I could do.

If you are overwhelmed, overworked, and burning out, it’s not because you need another “you.”

It’s because you need an assistant. 

Kristie’s Thoughts

Kristie Webber

The thought of having a clone has certainly crossed my mind a time or two! But I truly believe that the strength found in the Exec-EA partnership far surpasses even the dreamed-up possibility of cloning myself. The benefit of this partnership is much more than the fact there are two of you. Each of you brings strengths and weaknesses to the table that can complement each other. As Don said, by filling in the gaps for one another, you can accomplish more working together than working on your own. As an executive assistant, my desire was not to just take things off Don’s plate but to multiply Don’s effectiveness.

The only way to truly multiply each other’s efforts is to leverage each of your different skills to ensure that you are working on the highest-value items to move closer to your goals. Don is an excel wizard. He can create complex spreadsheets with intricate formulas without much effort. If I were to take on that task, I’d exhaust myself. On the flip side, I enjoy the challenge of pulling off an event with the many detailed logistics involved. But something like that would completely drain Don and wouldn’t allow him to focus on areas more in line with his strengths.

So although a clone sometimes does sound nice, I’d much rather have a strategic partner to work with, allowing us to multiply our efforts and accomplish more while doing the things that we both enjoy!

Emmre - Software for Assistants and Leaders

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.

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