4 Reasons You Should Never Miss a Meeting With Your Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff

“My Executive canceled our weekly 1:1 meeting… again.”

This might be one of the most frequent frustrations we hear from Force Multipliers. These weekly 1:1 meetings between a leader and their right hand partner are often the only dedicated time that an EA or Chief of Staff has to meet with their Exec during the week.

Your Executive Assistant is one of the most important people in your company. They are helping you run the office, your business, and your life. They’re supporting your every move and making you look your best along the way. It is critical that you are meeting with your EA at least weekly (I recommend a weekly 30-minute to 1-hour meeting on Monday to go over the week’s objectives). It is a sacred time for a Force Multiplier to get into alignment with their leader, ask questions, prioritize projects, ensure the vision is being executed, and work on building trust and rapport, which only strengthens the partnership and makes both parties more effective. It’s a win-win.

So why are leaders always canceling these meetings or scheduling over them? I think there are two main reasons.

  1. The leader knows that, more than anyone, their EA will understand and they “talk all the time” or will “see each other later” anyway. Usually, this is a false assumption. The week can quickly get away from both of you, and that time to catch up later often doesn’t materialize.
  2. The leader is not seeing or understanding the value and importance of these weekly 1:1 meetings. That’s about to change. And you, Force Multipliers, can help them shift their perspective on this, too.

4 Reasons You Should Never Miss a Meeting With Your Executive Assistant or Chief of Staff

1. Force Multiplication

Your EA’s or Chief of Staff’s success is fundamentally tied to helping you with your workload and multiplying your efforts. If your Force Multiplier is going to effectively fulfill the needs of their position and ensure that your life and the business operate efficiently and flawlessly, then they need to have one-on-one time with you to gather information, learn what’s important to you, understand how you think and how you lead, get familiar with the questions you ask and why, and know how you make decisions. Your right hand partner needs to spend time with you to be able to act on your behalf when needed, help communicate the vision, build consensus among various teams, and help drive your initiatives forward.

2. Priority Alignment

Weekly 1:1 meetings should be a time to make sure you and your Force Multiplier are on the same page in terms of projects and priorities. We use the Weekly Execution Plan to guide our weekly conversations and stay in lock-step. It’s imperative that your EA and/or Chief of Staff understand the priorities of the week or quarter, so that they can then go forth and execute throughout the rest of the week. This one weekly meeting, if done well, will actually save you a tremendous amount of time, additional meetings, check-ins, etc. over the rest of the week.

3. Streamlined Schedule

Time is our most valuable resource and nobody knows this better than leaders and their executive business partners. Weekly 1:1 meetings should serve as a strategic touch-point at the beginning of the week to make sure you are spending your time on the most important people and projects that week/month/quarter. While much of this work is done ahead of time on an annual or quarterly basis, we know that priorities shift and things change. By staying on top of your time and schedule, you and your Force Multiplier are constantly optimizing your time and ensuring you stay focused on high impact items.

4. Retention

While a talented EA doesn’t need daily direction, they are going to feel disconnected if they are not at least touching base with you regularly on special projects or high-priority items to keep everything moving forward. In addition, most top EAs are dynamic leaders in their own right. If they are not paired with a leader who’s at least as strong as them (if not stronger), they will likely leave to work with a leader who they can actually learn and grow from. Suffice it to say that if you want to keep a talented EA or Chief of Staff on your team, you are going to have to be constantly upping your leadership game. Talent wants to be surrounded by talent. Making time to coach and mentor your Force Multiplier will go a long way towards building a strategic business partnership that will withstand the test of time.

In Summary

Yes, these 1:1 meetings are critical for Force Multipliers to succeed in their position. But they are just as important and valuable for you, as the executive or principal. If you have made the investment into a right-hand partner – whether that’s an Executive Assistant, a Chief of Staff, or both – then it is your responsibility to spend time with them to help them grow their knowledge of you and the company – which ultimately helps you in the end.

If you are not making these weekly meetings a priority, I would suggest you take some time to consider why you hired an EA or Chief of Staff in the first place. Are you truly committed to partnership (which is a necessity for a successful leader/Force Multiplier relationship)? Are you spending your time on the most important activities, or are you holding on to logistics, administrative tasks, project management, etc. in an effort to prove your worth? What is keeping you from truly leveraging to a talented Force Multiplier? Do you have the wrong person on your team? Or are you suffering from imposter syndrome and need to work on yourself to level up your leadership? Are you simply overscheduled and need to say yes to fewer things and leverage more to your Force Multiplier and leadership team?

Now, I understand that things happen, and occasionally your weekly 1:1 meeting may need to be moved. However, this should be the exception, not the rule. And, if your 1:1 with your Force Multiplier is pushed, then reschedule it – preferably within 24 hours – on the calendar for within the same week.

Your Force Multiplier is here to support, optimize, and maximize your reach and effectiveness. They are not able to do this at the highest level if you are not committed to spending time with them, working on the partnership, and being transparent with challenges, priorities, and the overall vision.

I will leave you with this: a strong, dedicated, and strategic Force Multiplier is someone you want on your side and will dramatically enhance the trajectory of your organization. You will see a massive impact with just a 1 hour commitment to a weekly 1:1 meeting. It will be the best ROI you have in your business.

How does your organization handle 1:1 meetings between leaders and their Executive Assistants and Chiefs of Staff? What are the roadblocks to the effectiveness of these meetings? What is working well?

 

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