Broadly, the EA / PA of today needs to develop their skills and strategic focus to best support their Executive. Self-develop, stay motivated, stay informed and whether the core is the diary and complex travel, most PAs cry out for more involvement.
There’s no point asking for more involvement without being able to demonstrate focus.
Attend your Executive’s team meetings. Your boss probably has regular meetings with direct reports and briefings. The meeting reinforces your role as being pivotal to the team’s success, raising your profile intelligently and reinforcing you as key to the success of the business
Take the minutes (by hand or on an iPad). Make sure you have done your research, note all actions, and follow up.
Build relationships and listen, ask questions, find out what your boss does, who is important to them, who is in their circle and be their eyes and ears. Take time to really understand the organisation and the business as a whole, the processes and protocols. Demonstrate your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. Read what your boss reads – the FT? – be ahead of the game, download onto your iPad. Think industry periodicals, social media and competitor news
What is your boss’s goal, what is the company strategy? A few years ago we placed a PA to the Commercial Director of a well-known business and he had taken over running the French office. She planned and executed French lessons for all the staff involved in the delicate move and arranged for the team to do the Paris Marathon that year – getting the team fitter and more integrated from square one.
So many of our candidates have developed into wider roles – using their personal strengths to bring huge gains to their firm – they have this in common – they didn’t stand still, they took the initiative, built their skills and became fundamentally focused to the goals of their boss and the business. From assistant on the equity floor to Chief Executive of a listed company – absolutely anything is possible.