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Q & A with Jan Jones: Iconic Business Leaders Make Smart Use of Their Assistants

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses how business leaders make smart use of their assistants.

 For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do!

Iconic Business Leaders Make Smart Use of Their Assistants

FlyPrivate: Because of the COVID-19 global lockdown, suddenly
business has to drastically change the way it is operating, so we thought it would be valuable to revisit the discussion we had when your book first came out.  Many assistants are on the frontlines of their companies at this time. We’ve heard that they are playing a bigger role in helping processes to flow smoothly, making sure communication is maintained and leaders are visible to remote employees. Other EAs tell us their
executives could utilize them much more. What would you say to those executives who are not fully utilizing their EAs during this time of crisis?

Jan Jones: I’m certain that the executives who are not fully utilizing their assistants during this time, are the ones who didn’t utilize them effectively before the crisis.

It goes back to the question you asked when my book first came out. You asked Why write a book about EAs specifically for executives? Knowing why I did that will help executives to understand why they should be making better use of their assistant’s capabilities.

I targeted my book to executives because they are the ones who need to learn the value an exceptional assistant can bring to their lives. Assistants know the significant role they play, but many
executives and business owners have little or no idea how to work effectively with an assistant. They don’t know what an outstanding resource a top assistant can be to them, to help relieve them of
day-to-day matters that are not a good use of their time. Executives must get comfortable with delegating. In order to work effectively with an assistant, they need to know what a top-quality assistant looks like, meaning what qualities and characteristics an assistant must have in order to best serve the executive, whether it is a junior, mid-level, or senior role.  In my book (“The CEO’s Secret Weapon”), I dedicate three chapters that discuss “The Tangible and Intangible Characteristics of an Exceptional Executive Assistant” and I explain why they should matter to an executive.

What has happened since my book came out is that numerous
publications have followed my format of listing characteristics of
executive assistants. However, they overlooked my caution to
executives that not every assistant has these characteristics. I was specific with executives that they would be lucky to find an assistant who had some of these characteristics, let alone most, or all of them.  I called the assistants who have these characteristics “exceptional executive assistants”, because these characteristics make them
exceptional, setting them apart from the rest.

Executives and business owners often don’t realize that their
assistant is their “face and voice” to the world.  Through the
assistant, people can get a favorable or unfavorable impression of an executive and the organization.  Since executives should always be putting their best foot forward, it is crucial that they engage an
assistant who is at all times conveying an air of professionalism, competence, a willingness to be of service and has enthusiasm for the job. They need an assistant who is fully invested in the role, who is committed to getting things done and to showcasing their
executive in the best possible light.

FlyPrivate: Tell us about some of the famous business leaders you  interviewed.

Jan Jones: In addition to world-class executive assistants, I was
fortunate to interview some of the world’s top business icons for my book, including Sir Richard Branson, Donald Trump (prior to
presidency), Steve Forbes, Barbara Corcoran, management gurus Marshall Goldsmith, Ken Blanchard, Simon Sinek, as well as Cisco Systems’ then-CEO/Chairman, John Chambers, who wrote the Foreword to my book with such clarity and understanding of the role his long-time, wonderful assistant Debbie Gross has played in his life. In fact, if executives only read the Foreword to my book, that in itself is an eye-opening lesson on what an assistant can do for an executive if the executive is smart enough to hire someone capable of working with them as a strategic-thinking partner. There are
interviews with many successful CEOs who might not be world-famous, but who have managed to create a wonderful partnership with their assistant. I should stress that by “partnership” I mean the idea that we support each other, we are allies, teammates, we have each other’s backs. I don’t mean it in the legal or HR sense of the word.

FlyPrivate: How do these business leaders maximize effectiveness
utilizing their assistants? What benefit does the EA derive from the relationship?

Jan Jones: One of my favorite examples is from the best-selling
author, Joseph Michelli, who told me his assistant made him richer because she increased his portfolio and kept him on track with their business plan. When he got enthusiastic about some new
opportunity, she would say “let’s see how this fits our business plan and our goals for this year.” Kudos to Joseph for heeding his
assistant’s counsel. Not only did he respect Lynn’s advice, he
rewarded her well. How many business owners can say that their
assistant made them richer? Joseph was extremely smart to choose Lynn and understand the value she could bring to him.

Donald Trump had the most outstanding assistant I have ever had the privilege to meet, and I have met and worked with assistants of famous authors, celebrities, famous executives, economists,
politicians, you name it, from all over the world. Norma was truly in a class all by herself, the best ambassador an executive could dream of having, let alone actually have. She retired after working for Mr. Trump for over 30 years. In addition to being Mr. Trump’s assistant, she was also a vice president at the Trump Organization, as is Mr. Trump’s current assistant. A close second to Norma, was pop star Michael Jackson’s assistant, who also was a vice president at MJJ Productions. Mr. Trump told me he admired the fact that his
assistant was able to assess situations and take independent action. He appreciated her ability to handle things without having to
interrupt him. She had a lot of courage and “Was a straight shooter – someone who will tell it like it is. Norma would never take the easy way out and she always had my best interests in mind.” Some advice for assistants from Mr. Trump: “If you need to ask the boss
something, ask yourself the question first. A lot of times you’ll know the answer already and save your boss time.”

Steve Forbes, the publisher of Forbes Magazine told me, “My
assistant has a good head on her shoulders and can make judgment calls that come from experience. When she is away, something that seemed smooth is anything but smooth if she’s not there to make sure it happens.” I urge younger executives to listen to Mr. Forbes that his assistant’s judgment comes from experience. Many younger executives shy away from hiring an older assistant. They do so at their peril because these assistants bring years of business know-how, acumen and protocol that can guide younger, inexperienced executives and show them how to develop and polish their
professional image and business acuity.

Simon Sinek, the popular TED speaker and author told me that he viewed his relationship with his assistant, Monique “As an essential partnership. I don’t see my work as more important or less
important than hers. I see our work as mutually beneficial.”

John Chambers said “I wanted a business partner who could help me to run my business and manage my day-to-day activities, who I can trust and who literally runs my life.” Debbie was with him over 25 years.

Don’t let their unassuming, unflappable demeanor fool you. The
assistants who work for these executives have a fierce passion for excellence and mirror their high-functioning bosses. They reflect the boss’ high energy, confidence and decision-making skills. They enjoy the exhilaration of achievement, and a job well done. Desire to
succeed and be their best is everything. They understand whom they represent and never let their standards fall. Exceptionalism is
everything to them. It’s in their blood. Playing small is not for them. I tell you from first-hand experience, you have to embody this level of excellence and commitment. This is what it takes to support an
executive at the highest levels. It’s something you learn coming up through the ranks, year after year. You don’t arrive fresh from
college knowing all this. It takes practice, commitment, dedication to your craft.

FlyPrivate: How can other executives mirror these iconic business
leaders?

Jan Jones: Take time to find the assistant who is the best fit for your needs. To do this, follow the advice I lay out in my book about how to find the right person, how to work with that person and how to
nurture the relationship so the assistant will stay and grow with the business. Analyze your work style. The executives I interviewed in my book were not afraid to ask for what they needed. They were honest about their work style and personality. Executives: be honest about your work habits and personality so you can find someone who will suit you. Make a list of what is not negotiable for you in an assistant. These are your “must haves”, whether it is technical skills, or personality traits. Try to keep the job interesting and challenging by delegating to your assistant. If it’s feasible, include your assistant in your deliberations so they understand your objectives.

If an executive chooses an assistant with talent and skill, the
assistant can add massive value by managing the executive’s day-to-day business activities. As I stress repeatedly in my book, the role of the executive assistant is to give back time to their executive. An
exceptional assistant routinely handles matters that are not a good use of the executive’s time. Steve Forbes said, “Part of being an
effective leader is knowing what your value-add is, focusing your time on that and figuring how you delegate other things. Even if you believe you can do a task better than someone else, it might not be a good use of your time. Good leadership demands that you put
together an effective team.” For a busy executive that teambuilding should start with an exceptional executive assistant.

While my book is geared to executives, I want assistants to
understand that they have to strive to be exceptional at their job. We all have different capabilities, but everyone should make certain that they are dedicated, professional and always looking for ways to improve, learn and make their executive look good. When they look good, you look good, because in the case of some executives, making them look good takes some doing! The best assistants are
cheerleaders for the boss and for the company. Other employees feel motivated and inspired by them. They have a reputation for
excellence, discretion, reliability, honesty and getting the job done. They make their boss and the team feel secure. They come to work every day ready to perform at optimum levels.

I am inspired by this quote from noted Sicilian chef Guiseppe
Carollo. For me it sums up the satisfaction, pride and commitment an assistant must feel about their career: “Only those who have a lot of passion will be able to do this job well.” This is the level of drive, passion and commitment executives must look for when hiring their assistant. It doesn’t matter if the assistant’s position is junior,
mid-level, or senior. The passion and resolve to excel must be
apparent at every level. With such an ally by their side, executives can be assured they will succeed in their mission.


©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2020. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author, or without crediting the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and
Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on:

Q & A with Jan Jones: Transparency and Working Relationships

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses the importance of transparency and getting the most out of your working relationships.

 For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

FlyPrivate: How transparent with your business objectives and
personal objectives should you be in order to get the most out of the working relationship? Are there certain things you shouldn’t entrust an EA with and handle yourself instead?

Jan Jones: It depends on the job level. An assistant to a CEO for
example, is typically privy to more confidential business and
personal information than an assistant to a mid-level manager. Do a thorough job when hiring your assistant so you can feel confident about giving them information. It may take a while for the
executive to feel comfortable with full transparency. It will certainly depend on the maturity level of the assistant and whether the
assistant shows they can be trusted with information. The greater the transparency the more effective the assistant can be in getting the job done. I have taken phone calls from lawyers, accountants and others who needed urgent responses while my bosses were away. I was able to help them because my bosses kept me fully informed. There was 100% transparency because I proved worthy of it. Use your judgement about what you are sharing, but generally, if you can’t be transparent with your assistant, they should not be working for you. If you have trust issues and are unwilling to take your
assistant into your confidence, learn to work through those issues so your assistant can represent you effectively. Many assistants are more trustworthy and capable than they are given credit for.

Speaking about his assistant Debbie Gross in my book “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”, John Chambers, the executive chairman and
former CEO of Cisco Systems said “From our first day together I let her know that my office, files and everything in my business life were hers to manage and that I had complete trust in her capabilities”. The Chambers/Gross relationship is the epitome of transparency and teamwork between the executive and assistant. Mr. Chambers
interviewed 17 candidates before he selected Debbie. This is the level of diligence that executives need to adopt in finding an
assistant they can trust implicitly. For a certain caliber of executive there is no separation between business and personal matters and their assistants know everything.

As far as personal objectives, if they are relevant to the executive getting the job done, the assistant should know about it. If the
executive wants to be at their child’s baseball practice, or has promised their spouse they will be home by a certain time, then the assistant should be informed so they can plan the executive’s
schedule accordingly. I recall when one of my bosses hired my
replacement. His wife had him on a strict weight loss program.  One of the first things the new assistant did was to place a bowl of candy on his desk. I swiftly removed the candy and had a chat with her. With the weight loss objective being so paramount, he should have let his new assistant know it was a major priority for him and
enlisted her help in staying on track.

In many corporations, assistants are not permitted to do personal work for executives. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. In fact, it is quite widespread and I’ve done it myself. If someone owns the company, there is typically no distinction between personal and business matters. Everything is transparent to the assistant. It’s the only way they can manage the executive’s affairs. One area I suggest you keep separate is your personal emails, especially from friends who don’t use discretion when they circulate jokes or photos,
because they don’t realize that your assistant is seeing every
message that goes to your business email. If your assistant is joining you on a phone call, let the other parties know your assistant is on the line so they mind what they say. There is such a thing as too much transparency, even for an assistant who has seen and heard it all!


©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2020. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and
Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on:

Q & A with Jan Jones: The Importance of Feedback Between Executive & Assistant

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses the importance of feedback
between executives and their assistants.

 For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

Business meeting

FlyPrivate: How often should you meet with your EA and provide 
feedback about their performance? How important is this to the
 working relationship?

Jan Jones: Being honest and respectful does wonders for any
relationship, but especially for the delicate balance that must be struck between an executive and assistant. Feedback should be
ongoing, particularly at the start of the relationship, or if the current assistant is not performing up to standard and adjustments need to be made. If something gets dropped, or mistakes are recurring,
address them quickly so there is no undercurrent of dissatisfaction impacting the relationship. Don’t let the EA assume that everything is OK and then suddenly get hit with the news that you are not
happy with their performance. I shared in my book the example of an EA whose new boss seemed to be annoyed with her and she could not figure out why. At a social gathering she finally asked him. He said he was not a morning person so when she called out “Good Morning!” in a cheerful voice, it irritated him. The discussion about work style should have been on the EA’s priority list at the outset. Since she didn’t ask, and it obviously was an issue for him, he should have said something about it. Instead, uncomfortable months went by during that early period when they could have been building trust, respect and rapport.

When an EA is new in the job, I recommend they ask their executive if everything is satisfactory no later than at the end of the first week. Are there any challenges with communication, or work
performance? A simple “How did we do this week, are there any
issues you’d like to discuss?” should quickly let the EA know how they are faring and lets the executive know the assistant is open to feedback. When I started a new job, on the first day I would tell my boss I wanted to hear immediately if they were not satisfied with anything, no matter how minor, so I could fix it. Executives should be specific when giving feedback. Let your assistant know exactly what the issue is. Don’t beat around the bush and leave them perplexed about what you really mean. Don’t let problems build up. For me, once the relationship was established and I knew I could be candid with my boss, I shared my observations but I was careful to pick my moments. The timing has to be right or you’ll wind up doing more damage than good. Feedback works best when it is communicated sincerely and respectfully, without either party feeling intimidated, or put on the spot. It should be communicated in private because it may start out positively, but it could lead to other issues that should be discussed confidentially.

Schedule time for an informal performance discussion at the end of the first 30 days and a formal performance review at the end of the first 90 days. If things are not going well, don’t wait 90 days to
address them. Similarly, if the assistant has settled in well and you are pleased with their performance, let them know and say thank you. If the executive and assistant are working together
comfortably, they probably have sufficient rapport to be able to talk to each other about performance, expectations or
misunderstandings on a frequent basis, not just at review time. Use your instincts. If something feels uneasy, speak up and get it handled.

All relationships require effort and commitment, and the
executive-assistant relationship is no exception. Develop trust and confidence in each other. It creates a space for both of you to safely share what’s on your mind without feelings being hurt, or intentions misunderstood. When trust and support back up your relationship, it creates a sense of comfort in which you are free to thrive and do your best work.


©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2020. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and
Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on:

Why Are Assistants Always “Putting Out Fires”?

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses why executive assistants often feel like they are always “putting out fires”.

For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and
associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 


“An utterly frustrated assistant asked me “Why is everything last minute? Why am I always putting out fires?”

 

The nature of business is that situations change constantly and rapidly. Things happen and they have to be dealt with, whether it’s clients who have last-minute issues, a boss who is stranded en route, or technology that is malfunctioning. The executive assistant is the go-to person, so that’s who people go to. On a daily basis you wear many hats and you will be asked to put on any number of those hats at a moment’s notice. Knowing this, realize that flexibility is key. To quote management guru, Gary Hamel, you must be “as nimble as change itself.”

 

Businesses are not static. They are alive and constantly
recalibrating, so you, dear assistant, have to constantly recalibrate with it. The assistant’s role is not for the faint of heart. You have to develop a stomach for uncertainty and learn to thrive on the
challenge. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with apprehension about what fire will erupt next. There are things within your control and your job is to take control in order to lessen the chance of fires flaring up unexpectedly.”

 

Read the rest of Jan’s blog on LinkedIn and follow her to see future blog content for Executive Assistants.

©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2019. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon
.


The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Robust Communication: The Key to a Dynamic Executive-Assistant Partnership

For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and
associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses robust communication
for executive assistants.


The idea that an executive assistant is a “business partner” with their executive is widely held and enjoying popularity today. Of course, astute executives have forged successful working alliances with their stellar assistants for eons, by understanding the immense
talent an exceptional assistant brings to the table.

How did they come to understand it? Mostly by observing assistants in action throughout the various stages of business. As executives came up through the ranks, they saw assistants at every level of the organization taking on increasing levels of responsibility and
developing their capabilities. These executives skillfully harnessed and nurtured that assistant talent as the assistant grew in stature, developed their confidence, deepened their business acuity and
became a “seamless extension of the executive”© as I say in my book, “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”.

How often have you heard it said about an exceptional assistant “she runs the place?” Have you ever wondered how these assistants came to “run the place” and have the self-assurance to do it? I was
fortunate to be one of those nurtured talents known to “run the place”, so may I share first-hand that we didn’t do it by sheltering behind e-mail and voicemail when our executives were sitting in an office beside us. We didn’t send text messages to our
executives instead of getting in front of them to have a conversation about things.

Assistants who “run the place” understand that the responsibility for developing communication with our executives is in our hands, so we take every opportunity to be in personal proximity to them
because we know that to gain their confidence and respect, and help them run the business we need to:

  • Know what they know
  • Think like they think
  • Sound like they sound
  • Experience their emotions, body language, verbal cues in order to be clear on how they feel about things, and act on their behalf accordingly
  • Use the terminology they use so they know we understand what they are talking about.

Executives need big-thinking assistants with a wide range of talents, who give them the edge in a hyper-competitive global economy.
Getting this in today’s technology-dependent environment may be another matter because of the way many assistants are choosing to interact with their executives and teams.

When the practice of assistants texting and e-mailing their
executives who are sitting right next to them came to my attention, I reacted with disbelief. How, I asked, does an executive tolerate such a thing, but more importantly why would an assistant not take the opportunity to get face-to-face with their executive so they are
constantly on their executive’s radar?

“My boss doesn’t let me” is a common refrain from assistants. On closer examination, often it is because the assistant did not
previously step up, became complacent, or got discouraged and stopped trying after initial approaches failed. One executive told me, “She better try harder to get my attention”. I urge assistants to
remember your success or failure is always in your hands. Persist, but be smart about it so your executive doesn’t see you as a
nuisance. You are responsible for taking the initiative because you have the most to lose in terms of opportunities, job satisfaction, growth and advancement if you don’t.

Assistants, your executive is your best advocate and integral to your success. If you’ve been passive in your communication, if you’ve been cloistered behind electronic communication, or relying too much on AI and technology to increase your value and skills, then forgive your boss for forgetting you exist. If your boss rarely
interacts with you in person, you won’t spring to mind when an
exciting project comes up that you’d be ideal for. They won’t use you as a sounding board, treat you as a confidant, rely on your counsel, or consider you their “eyes and ears”. You’ll struggle to be an
influencer and won’t have credibility because you haven’t
established it.

If your relationship with your executive is to function as a dynamic partnership, and not just today’s feel-good buzzword, begin taking steps to spend time in each other’s company as frequently as
possible. Schedule time to meet and catch up, even briefly. Pop your head in the door and ask that question you might otherwise text about. Often, when I did that, my executives would invite me in to discuss further, or ask my opinion about something they were
working on. Those exchanges established rapport. I discovered my opinion mattered to my executive. In those one-on-one sessions I learned far more than I realized at the time. They helped me
become expert at my job and grow in stature as a valued assistant. It was not a mere partnership, it was a dynamic partnership –
compelling, productive and effective. Listening and learning directly from my executives set the foundation for the business know-how I apply in my own business today.

Now, I’m not saying don’t e-mail or text your executive. Electronic communication is the lifeblood of business and the convenience and practicality is irreplaceable in today’s workplace. What I’m saying is use your discretion. When you can communicate face-to-face, do so. If your executive is away and you have a challenging situation, pick up the phone, or use FaceTime, etc., to talk it through. You’ll quickly gauge where things stand when you hear tone, agreement,
disagreement, pleasure or frustration. From that you’ll learn how to handle a situation the next time it arises. Over time, your confidence and independence will flourish and your value to the partnership will be strengthened.

Commitment is paramount. If face-to-face communication has not been a frequent practice your executive may object, so you’ll need to persist. Pick your moments, but keep getting in front of your
executive. Make your presence known. Elevate your profile. Earn their confidence. They may feel confused by your new-found desire to take charge and expand your influence. But if you explain that you want to develop a proactive partnership, your executive will
probably welcome your initiative. Always be clear with your
executive that you are not claiming you are their “partner”, but rather you desire to function in a partnership, like allies working together. It will make a difference to those executives who feel
hostile to assistants who claim they are a “business partner”. Yes, many don’t like it, especially if the assistant has not yet proved themselves in their executive’s eyes.

Every executive who wishes to be more effective will appreciate a proactive, resourceful assistant who wants to learn and contribute more. Once you and your executive experience the value of frequent, face-to-face communication and commit to it, you will start functioning in a true alliance, sharing vision, responsibility, knowledge and experiences that enhance your performance and keep you productive, energized, engaged and fulfilled by your work.

©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2019. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

What Your Jet Card Doesn’t Want You to Know

Are you new to private aviation? Have you ever heard of round trip pricing? Probably not. Over the past few years all the major
membership companies have phased it out.

Who wins? Jet Card/Jet Membership Company

Who loses? You

Let’s look at the example of a same-day trip from New York (TEB) to Indianapolis (IND). You depart at 9:00 AM and you return at 4:00 PM. The trip is just about 2 hours in each direction so it serves as a great example for other same-day destinations. You have 4
passengers and you prefer to fly in a midsize aircraft.

It doesn’t matter which program you are in: Delta, Sentient Jet, Net Jets, Wheels Up, etc. Your hourly cost for a midsize jet is $7,000 per hour all in, billed at actual flight time plus taxi-time. In fact, it’s
actually a few hundred dollars more per hour, but the cost
difference is so extreme we actually rounded down!


Jet Card/Jet Membership (Hawker 800XP, Citation XL)

Depart: 9:00 AM    TEB-IND

Arrive: 11:00 AM    (2 hours flight time)

Depart: 4:00 PM     IND-TEB

Arrive: 6:00 PM       (2 hours flight time)

Price:  4 Hours Total Flight Time x $7,000 per hour = $28,000


FlyPrivate  (Hawker 800XP, Citation XL, Hawker 1000, Citation Sovereign)

Depart: 9:00 AM    TEB-IND

Arrive: 11:00 AM    (2 hours flight time)

Depart: 4:00 PM     IND-TEB

Arrive: 6:00 PM       (2 hours flight time)

At FlyPrivate, we will provide you with several midsize options (in this example trip, we also had super midsize jet availability for the same price).

You will know your full cost before you fly. We price by the trip, not by the hour, upfront and fixed. This method allows us to leverage the marketplace to get you the best pricing and aircraft options.

Price: 4 Hours Total Flight Time x $4,842 per hour = $19,368 *all in

Citation XL:  $19,368

Hawker 800XP: $19,368

Hawker 1000: $19,368

Citation Sovereign: $19,368 (super midsize jet)


Analysis:

Same-Day Trip

Jet Card:       TEB-IND-TEB           Midsize Jet = $28,000

FlyPrivate:    TEB-IND-TEB           Midsize Jet = $19,368

Savings with FlyPrivate: $8,632  (30.8%)


Conclusion:

As previously stated, the major membership companies have phased out round trip pricing, to benefit themselves, not their clients like you. A couple of these jet card/membership companies offer you a 10-15% discount on some trips, but they are still gouging you by 30%, so a 12% give back now and then, makes everyone feel good.

Let us state this VERY clearly: You are overpaying by 30% for the SAME TRIP ON THE SAME AIRCRAFT.

Here is another secret. FlyPrivate and all of the major membership companies, use the same Part 135 charter aircraft.

In case it didn’t sink in the first time – YOU ARE OVERPAYING BY 30% FOR THE SAME AIRCRAFT!

Don’t continue down this path, now that you have been educated on this topic, please contact us for your next “round trip” itinerary and we will provide you with the options.

With our service, you only “Pay as You Fly”.

Join other experienced private fliers who have shed their membership and regained their capital. Over the past 18 years we have saved our clients millions of dollars and allowed them to fly hundreds more trips with the savings.

Welcome,

Don Smith

Chief Operating Officer

FlyPrivate

P.S. Your “one-way” itineraries will also cost you less for the SAME AIRCRAFT.

The Road Show

Sooner or later you need to be in several places at the same time. Portfolio company, plant and branch location site visits, investor and M&A discussions are just a few of the reasons you may need to schedule a road trip.

Why fly privately? There are many reasons to FlyPrivate. Here are the most compelling:

1. Save time…AND make money. 

We routinely take 5-day commercial itineraries and reduce them to 2 or 3 days. This not only saves time but adds back days of
productivity. The value of your time or an executive team’s can easily exceed $19,000 per day. This savings of travel time, replaced with
increased days of productivity, more than pays for the investment in a private charter.

2. Privacy and Security

Most M&A, IPO, and other investor discussions have a need for
privacy. It can pay big dividends to move as invisibly as possible. Use of a private unmarked aircraft to a private airfield will not broadcast your arrival and departure. The private aircraft itself can be used as a secure conference room allowing for additional planning and preparation. If you need enroute, pre or post-meeting
communication, ask about aircraft with Wi-Fi capability.

3. Schedule Flexibility

Some of the most critical elements to your trip are highly
unpredictable. Whether it is last minute news, availability of a
principal, lab results, or the development of a prototype, meeting times can change. Use of private aviation allows you to revise an
itinerary to suit your agenda. This type of adaptability could be the added measure to achieve success.

4. Health

As anyone who spends a prolonged period of time on the road can attest, traveling comes with inherent health concerns. Commercial airliners, terminal lavatories, armrests, drinking fountains, and
escalators handrails consistently rank as some of the most germ
infested public areas. Reducing exposure to these areas helps to promote better health, energy and productivity for you and your team.

At FlyPrivate we are road show experts. Benefit from our national aircraft options and logistical experience and make your next road trip pay big dividends.

Our service is “pay as you fly”, there is no membership to join.

Please contact us with the details for your next potential road trip.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest FlyPrivate news and information.

Flight Request

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

 

Emotional Intelligence for Executive Assistants

This interview was first published in April 2019. Author Jan Jones
interviews business trainer and consultant Heather Dallas about the
relevance of Emotional Intelligence for executive assistants.

Emotional Intelligence is a hot topic, but it is not a new idea. The term “Emotional Intelligence” was coined by two psychology
professors, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, in 1990. In 1995 Daniel Goleman wrote the book “Emotional Intelligence” and followed up with an article for Harvard Business Review called “What Makes A Leader”. The article contributed to the topic becoming important for business leaders and business people in general. Emotional
Intelligence is about our inter-personal and intra-personal skills. It is typically abbreviated as “EI” or “EQ” (Emotional Quotient).

These days, business is placing a premium on employees’ emotional intelligence. What’s important to the executive, must be important to the executive’s assistant. If the executive is focusing on
developing emotional intelligence personally, or within the
organization, then the assistant must do likewise. With this in mind, Jan Jones invited business trainer and consultant Heather Dallas to speak with her about the work she is doing teaching businesses about emotional intelligence, and more specifically, her work
teaching assistants about emotional intelligence. You can read about Heather’s background at the end of this interview.

Jan Jones: Heather, apart from the fact that their executives are
serious about understanding and developing emotional intelligence, why is EI relevant for executive assistants?

Heather Dallas: I’ve seen growing interest in this topic over the past few years and clients are asking about it more and more. I teach a course on emotional intelligence for executive assistants, and have seen a considerable increase in interest recently. Assistants
understand that as they serve their executives and the organization at large, they need to develop the vital skills that make up the
components of emotional intelligence. Because executive assistants are the public “face” of their executives, in many ways it is even more important for them to embody the traits of emotional intelligence, which are:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy for Others
  • Social Skills (Relationship building and management).

JJ: I heard Daniel Goleman speak at a conference. He said that
basically emotional intelligence is how we handle ourselves, manage ourselves, lead ourselves, and how we handle our relationships.

HD: Yes, and here are a couple of theoretical definitions I use to
explain emotional intelligence: “The ability to understand how
emotions affect behavior, and do something with that information”, and “Developing awareness of your emotions and behaviors through self-reflection and noting feedback from others”.

JJ: I like the idea that in addition to understanding how emotions
affect behavior, that there is guidance on what to do with that
information. Otherwise it is just intellectual understanding and we need to be able to put the ideas into practice at work every day.

HD: Exactly. In summary, it’s inter-personal skills, meaning how you relate to others, your rapport skills, which are the central pillars in communication. Your relationship management, your intra-personal skills, meaning how self-aware you are, how authentic you are. What buttons are you pressing in others that you are not aware of?

JJ: And how self-aware you are leads you to understand the effect your words and actions have on others. This is especially important for executive assistants who often have to relay messages from their executives to team members and employees across the
organization. If the executive is tone deaf, the assistant must make certain that they finesse the message in order to make it easier for others to digest. I had one job in particular where I became an expert at tempering the tone of my executive’s communications. People would remark to me how much more “mellow” my executive had
become. But I didn’t always have that expertise. When I first started as an assistant, I thought I was supposed to mirror the tone of my
executive. This caused problems until a colleague helped me to
understand that I could convey the message just as easily and
effectively, if I took the sharp edges off. It was an early lesson in EI about building business social skills.

Heather, what are some other elements that can help executive
assistants develop and expand their EQ, in order to increase their effectiveness in the EA role?

HD: Some other building blocks that make up emotional intelligence are:

Self-Awareness: Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, needs, what drives you. Being authentic, aware of the buttons you are pressing in others. Do you perceive yourself as others perceive you?

Motivation: Level of energy, passion, personal drive and enthusiasm for work, and commitment to goals. Being optimistic and positive. The desire for achievement and challenge.

Empathy: The ability to recognize, be sensitive to and consider
others’ feelings, needs and perspectives. Being able to understand, help and work with others and take an active interest in their concerns.

Decisiveness: Willingness to make decisions. The need for control and the level of comfort you have with decision-making responsibility.

Influence: The drive to influence, inspire and persuade others. To be heard and have an impact.

Adaptability: The desire for, and enjoyment of, variety in the workplace, the capacity to keep an open mind and be flexible with different and creative approaches. Being willing to make adjustments as necessary.

Conscientiousness: The need to plan and have structure, be diligent and meet deadlines, the level of comfort with conforming and
following the rules.

Stress Resilience: The capability to relax and deal with the day-to-day pressures of work, the level of comfort with showing and
managing emotions. For example, controlling or hiding your temper when provoked.

JJ: It has to start with self-awareness. The statistic is that the
average person experiences emotions 90% of the time. Even though we are emotional beings, we don’t typically make much effort to
become aware of our emotions.

HD: We have to become aware of our emotions in the moment they are happening and understand the effects those emotions are
having on ourselves and others. When you are experiencing
emotions such as anger or frustration, just slow down for a moment. I know in your book you interviewed the gentleman who teaches Mindfulness at Google. He said to stop and take a breath.

JJ: Yes, it was Chade Meng who talked about that. He also suggested that when you sit down with your executive, or your team, before you dive into the matters at hand, everyone should just close their eyes and take a breath together.

For me, as I was rushing into my meetings with my executive, I
always paused and took a deep breath. That one small action helped to center me and clear my mind so that I could be fully present to what my boss needed, rather than only being focused on getting
answers to my agenda items. It made for productive meetings
because we both accomplished our objectives in those meetings, even if on some days they were brief. When I got back to my desk and had a multitude of things I needed to get done, I simply took a breath and told myself ‘OK where do we need to start?’ That small step of taking a breath brought clarity and calm from where I
proceeded to tackle my projects. Sometimes, when I saw someone who was hard to deal with approaching my desk, I’d do the same thing – just close my eyes for a second and take a breath to help me center myself and be present to what they wanted in that moment, rather than focusing on their past behavior, or my feelings about them.

HD: We have to learn to consciously control our emotions so we can respond appropriately. And there are times when there is no need for a response. Awareness is enough. Self-regulation shows
discipline. It is a sign of maturity. There are some EI habits we are
already good at and others will require practice.

JJ: I was surprised when I first heard of Motivation as being part of EI. I’ve always thought of motivation as an internal drive, something that is propelled by my personal passions and desires, pushing me to high achievement. I thought of EI as being external, influencing my inter-personal actions, how I related and acted with others.

HD: You are spot-on about motivation, Jan, but remember, EI is not only about the social side (our behavior with/towards others), it’s also about our “behavior” with ourselves. Self-Awareness,
Self-Regulation and Motivation are the “Self” side of EI and Empathy and Social Skills are the “Social” side, the inter-personal, people skills side of EI.

To elaborate on your comments about motivation, it is important for assistants to have a regular personal check-in to examine what they need to do to keep motivated. Reminding yourself of your purpose is one way to rekindle your passion. What are you passionate about at work? Is it appreciation, more involvement, power, authority,
intellectual stimulation, the culture and working environment,
promotion prospects? Whatever it is that keeps you motivated and excited, find ways to do more of it. One daily exercise my clients find useful for motivation is to list “3 good things that happened to me today.”

JJ: I hope assistants will take note of this, Heather, because there are assistants who wait for their executive to motivate them. They
expect their executive to provide exciting projects for them to work on, or find ways to keep them happy and challenged. When
assistants tell me they need more challenge in the job, my response often is that they should look for ways to challenge themselves. What can I do to keep interested and motivated? What’s not getting done that I can do? What initiative can I take on a project that doesn’t rely on my boss for direction or approval? What task will help excite me to stretch my ability and thinking, so when it’s done, I can truly appreciate myself and the effort I made?

Can you share an example of how you have worked with EAs on EI?

HD: Sure. A good example is the work I’ve been doing with an
executive assistant in a global pharmaceutical organization who is remotely managing other EAs in her company’s European offices. When we started working together, Elizabeth’s Empathy was an 8 (out of 10). She needed to bring that down as she was spending too much time on not offending her team and giving them feedback in a sensitive way. This linked in with her Stress Resilience that was only 2. Through awareness and coaching, Elizabeth is now a 7 on Stress Resilience, a 5 on Empathy and a 7 on Decisiveness.

JJ: What I like about the work you are doing is how EAs can learn to increase their EI, not only in developing their talent for management and leadership within their role, but also to make them more
effective in growing that ability to take on additional opportunities.

HD: In my 30 years of experience working with EAs all over the world, I’ve seen a lot of under-utilized EA potential. My work with emotional intelligence can give assistants a framework to develop their skills, their awareness and fine-tune their communication ability.

*Further reading for developing potent “Intangible” skills for becoming a multi-faceted, exceptional executive assistant.

Are Executive Assistants Servant-Leaders?

Exemplary Followership: How Smart Assistants Get Ahead


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About Heather Dallas: A former executive assistant, Heather Dallas’ last EA role was at Deloitte UK. In 1990 she was asked to move into a new training role to introduce inter-personal skills training for the 1500 support staff at Deloitte UK, as well as many of the Deloitte offices globally. Heather left Deloitte in 2000 to set-up her own training and coaching business. After 19 years, Heather is proud to say she is still running programs for Deloitte.

Heather offers a range of programs for executive assistants including Presentation Skills, Team workshops, Personality Profiling, Project Management, Management Skills, The Mini-MBA for Executive Assistants and Emotional Intelligence, designed for in-house programs and public courses, in the UK and internationally. Jan Jones Worldwide has proudly presented Heather’s training skills for events in numerous international training locations, including The Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Heather has been passionate about developing the role of the executive assistant for nearly 30 years and has an outstanding record with satisfied clients.

To book Heather Dallas for your company in-house, association, or public training events, contact www.theceossecretweapon.comWatch for announcements of Heather’s upcoming international training dates.


About Jan Jones: Jan Jones spent 20 years as a distinguished international executive assistant to successful business people around the world. She is a passionate advocate for the executive assistant profession, mentoring assistants and guiding executives through her writing, speaking and consulting. She is the author of The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness” which debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management category. The book has received widespread acclaim from executives and assistants worldwide. www.theceossecretweapon.com

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Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates from
FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

 

Secrets to Stretching Your Private Aviation Budgets

Whether you are new to private aviation or a seasoned veteran, there are some little known industry secrets that we’d like to share with you. Let’s have a conversation about helping you stretch your aviation budget, allowing your money to go a little bit further, so you can fly more often.

To schedule a quick (5 minute) conversation with our COO, Don Smith, please click the link and use one of the subject lines below, that best describes your experience with private aviation. From there, we can start the conversation that is most appropriate for your needs, at your convenience.

For the Private Aviation Novice

For the Private Aviation Veteran