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Wednesday
Feb012017

Most high level leaders need an executive assistant, but most don't know how to best utilize them

Most leaders I have worked with or coached have been overwhelmed and over committed; trying to do too much and moving too fast. One thing that would be a big help would be to bring on an Executive Assistant (paid or volunteer).

Another problem I have observed is that those that have an executive Assistant under utilize them and/or flat out don’t know what to give them to do. Here is Michael Hyatt with some of the mistakes leader’s make with their assistants. It is eye-opening to say the least!

Originally posted by Michael Hyatt

“The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make with Executive Assistants”

I’ve worked with several executive assistants over the years, and I have found it is a make-or-break relationship when it comes to my success.

Think about it: None of us can do it all on our own. We need to bring others into our work to help us succeed in it. And the bigger the dream, the more help we usually need.

In my corporate days, I had some very effective executive assistants, and I couldn’t imagine doing the work without them. The same has been true since going on my own again in 2011, though at first I thought I could just operate as a one-man show. I was wrong. I couldn’t.

Have you considered hiring a virtual assistant? If so, let me encourage you to contact eaHELP and request a quote. I have used them for three years now and am thoroughly satisfied. They are the top-rated virtual assistant company in the U.S.

It wasn’t long before I was completely buried in email, speaking requests, travel details, calendar complications, expense reports, and more. I knew I needed help. Fortunately, I found a virtual executive assistant who enabled me to dig out of my pile, offload the stuff I hated, and get back to the essentials.

I now have two virtual EAs working on my team, and I can’t imagine it functioning without them. But that doesn’t mean an EA is a silver bullet for all our big hairy problems. An EA is only as good as the working relationship.

There are a lot of ways to blow it with your EA, and after talking with Bryan Miles of eaHELP.com I have identified the top-ten mistakes leaders make with their executive assistants, regardless of whether they’re virtual or sitting right outside your office. If we can avoid these, we can amplify our chances for success:

  1. We undervalue our true worth. How valuable is your time? Most of us don’t know, which is why we keep wasting so much of it on activities that don’t really matter. Without a doubt this is the No. 1 mistake people make with their EAs.

Take your total compensation and divide it across your available work hours. Now ask yourself: Is mailing that package, scheduling that meeting, or processing those invoices really worth that much? I bet not. If we really understood how much we’re worth, we’d hand off far more to our EAs.

  1. We undervalue our EAs’ true worth. Some of us don’t appreciate the competence, talents, and skills of our EAs. We don’t trust them enough to delegate the important but time-consuming tasks that take us off mission. It’s like we’re stuck in an old­-school “secretary” paradigm. The truth is that an EA is really a full partner in achieving our goals.
  2. We don’t communicate enough. Communication is key to working with an EA, and yet I constantly see EA relationships that suffer because leaders fail to provide necessary details about their work and even their private lives. If an EA is a partner in achieving our goals, they will only be as effective as they are dialed into what’s happening. Keeping them in the dark only hurts our ability to succeed.
  3. We don’t give the why behind the what. No. 4 is related to No. 3. A good ­EA can fill ­in­ the blanks of tasks and projects if they know the rationale behind a task or project. When we don’t communicate adequate background and reasoning, we’re hampering our EAs’ ability to help us win.
  4. We just don’t know how to delegate. If there’s a magic sauce to leadership, it’s delegation. Nothing will sink a leader faster than the inability to assign priorities and responsibilities.

But many of us don’t properly delegate to the one person working closest to us, our EAs. That’s a recipe for disaster. One EA was straightforward about the problem: “If you don’t ask for something to be done and then explain how you’d like it accomplished, I’m no good to you!”

  1. We refuse to surrender our email and calendars. Some of us actually like managing our inboxes and schedules; others are just control freaks. Either way, it sucks up tons of time. Leaders who don’t delegate these two functions are killing their productivity.
  2. We don’t open up. Some of us don’t share our lives enough with our EAs, but we could delegate so much more if we were more transparent about both our work and home life.

A good EA will see where they can plug in and take things off our plates we’re not even aware of—but that only happens if we give them access. How many unnecessary tasks and low-payoff activities could you offload if you only gave your EA permission?

  1. We don’t play fair. EAs get used to extraordinary requests; it’s sometimes part of the job. But if we are hypocritical about things, we can really undermine respect. For instance, to demand that your EA be hyper responsive and then sit on a request ruins your credibility. We have to work toward the same standard we expect from our teammates.
  2. We’re lousy about feedback. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind and miss opportunities to give our EAs insight into how they’re doing or what they could do to improve. Not only does this hurt our working relationship, but it’s also like shooting ourselves in the foot. Who benefits if our EA improves? Who suffers if they don’t? Regular feedback is a must.
  3. We expect too much access. As leaders, most of us are always on. We’re thinking about our business all the time—probably too much, actually. And we assume that everyone on the team should be on as well. The result is that we assume 24/7 service from our EAs is reasonable. It’s not. Especially if you’re working with a virtual EA who is giving a set number of hours, going beyond that strains the working relationship. In the end, the EA will be less effective, not more.

Our work it too important to go it alone. It’s also too important to undermine the very people responsible for helping us reach our goals. Having an effective working relationship with your executive assistant will enable you to achieve your core objectives while minimizing the clutter and distractions that sets you back.

To explore the possibility of hiring your own virtual EA, I recommend you contact Bryan Miles’ company, eaHELP, and request a quote. It’s been one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.

 

 

Monday
Jan302017

Some ways to stretch yourself as a leader!

Leadership is about stepping out of your comfort zone. Trying things you have never tried; thinking thoughts you have never thought; dreaming about things you have never dreamed about.  In short, to stretch yourself further than you thought possible or have done in the past.  Here are some ideas from Ron Edmondson on ways to stretch yourself as a leader.

Originally posted by Ron Edmondson

Seven Ways To Stretch Yourself As A leader

Those who succeed in the future workplace must be innovative. Adaptable. Able to change quickly.

You knew that, right?

It’s not an option these days.

It’s mandatory just to keep up with the pace of change. We can wish for days gone by, but to keep up, leaders will have to stretch themselves and work smarter.

In fact, when hiring decisions are made these days, most leaders I know (including me) look for these abilities as much, if not more, than experience or education. We need generalists, who can fill a plethora of responsibilities. If you can’t keep up with the speed of change, and adapt accordingly you’ll have a harder time advancing in your career in the future.

How can a leader keep up? What can you do?’

I am constantly learning how personally, but I have always been conscious of my own need to continue growing as a leader, so I’m sharing from my experience and some of what works for me.

 

HERE ARE 7 WAYS TO STRETCH YOURSELF:

 

1.  Read something different from what you normally read.

If you love to read history, occasionally read a book of fiction. Pick up a tech magazine, even if you’re far from being a techie. Read the comics, or the opinion page, or a biography — whatever something is different from what you usually read.

 

2.  Hang out with people not like you.

One of my favorite ways to stretch myself has been to surround myself with many different personalities and interests among my friendships. I am introverted. I have some very extroverted friends. I’m not usually loud in a crowd — and a few of my close friends are always the life of the party. I’m conservative. I have some very liberal friends. Honestly, it’s sometimes more comfortable to only hang out with people who think like me, but I realize I’m missing opportunities to grow when I do.

 

3.  Move forward on something with uncertainty.

This will be a challenge for some of you reading this. For others it’s easy. It comes fairly easy for me. But, the fact is rarely will we have all the answers when making decisions. That eliminates faith when we do, by the way. Take a new risk on something. It’s the surest way to stretch yourself.

 

4.  Attempt something you’ve never done.

That goes with taking a risk, but not only something that you consider “risky” — try to do something beyond what you think you can do. Take a college class, even though you’ve been out of school for years. Learn a language or to play an instrument. Take up photography or baking. Try to do a home repair — with just the help of the guy at the hardware store. If you’ve never done it — all the better. The more different from you it seems — the greater the stretch.

 

5.  Spend more time on opportunities than on problems.

This is huge, because problems tend to weigh us down and discourage us. Opportunities challenge and encourage us. Yes, fixing problems is exhilarating for some of us (like me), but only getting back to ground zero pales compared to finding new potential for growth. We can’t avoid handling problems, but we can discipline ourselves to focus more energy towards advancement rather than repair. Try it. In my experience, when I do this, some of the problems I thought needed so much of my attention no longer do.

 

6.  Schedule and discipline time to dream.

Dreaming can quickly become a lost art in a sea of mediocrity and repetition. We get so caught up in systems, routines and processes that we fail to imagine what is yet to be realized. I try to schedule a few hours a week of blank calendar time and shut everything down to think and pray. Sometimes I take a walk. Sometimes I read. Always I try to think of something new.

 

7.  Stay physically active.

Numerous studies I’ve read indicate what my experience already knows. I stretch my mind when I stretch my body. And, the more I stretch my body, the more I stretch my mind.

I realize an obvious question some of my ministry friends are wondering. How does this apply to the church?

Well, I personally believe the church should be well led, well-managed, efficient and productive. We have the greatest mission challenge ever extended. We are in a life-changing profession. Why would we ever sacrifice quality or settle for less than best in carrying out our work? So, of course this impacts ministry. We must continue to stretch ourselves to become better servant leaders.

What ideas do you have to stretch yourself as a leader?

Related posts:

 

  1. 7 Ways to Motivate a Leader
  2. 3 Ways to Respond to a Controlling Leader
  3. Saturday’s Dream Stretch: One World Problem
  4. Saturday’s Dream Stretch: Place To Visit

 

 

Saturday
Jan282017

Five Reasons Some Pastors Are Loners—And Why That’s Not Good

Some pastors/leaders are more introverted and tend to be loners. Is this okay; the way God made us, or is being a loner unbiblical and harmful to those we are privileged to lead? Here is Chuck Lawless to shed some light on this all-important question.

Originally posted by Chuck Lawless

Five Reasons Some Pastors Are Loners—And Why That’s Not Good

I admit it. I have a tendency to be a loner. I like my personal space and my private time. I recognize, though, that my tendencies aren’t always the best for a pastor. Here are my reflections on others like me:

Why Some of Us are Loners

  1. Some of us are naturally introverts. In fact, I’m convinced many pastors are introverts, but we’ve learned how to manage the public responsibilities of shepherding a church. Fellowship gatherings drain us, but we go anyway because we know we need to. If we don’t have our alone time, however, we’d never rejuvenate.
  2. Some have been hurt in the past. It doesn’t take many experiences of sharing ministry with others, becoming best friends with your staff, opening up to members . . . and then getting wounded . . . before you become a loner out of self-protection.
  3. It’s easier to do ministry alone. It takes less time to make a visit if I go by myself. I don’t have to worry about anybody’s schedule. Lunch takes less time if it’s not connected to hanging out with another believer. We even spiritualize our thinking: “we can get more done for God’s glory this way.”
  4. It’s risky to be vulnerable. If I never invite others into my life, I never need to talk about my fears, my weaknesses, my failures. Nobody learns that I sometimes struggle as a spouse or a parent. Nobody knows that my confidence sometimes masks my insecurities.
  5. It’s the only model we know. Too few of us had someone pour into our lives when we were young pastors. We have learned the lessons of ministry the hard way – by ourselves – and we’ve learned how to survive on our own.

Why that Pattern’s Not Good

  1. It misses the point that God created us to be with others. When God said in the Garden, “It is not good for man to be alone,” He was not talking about a consequence of the fall. He spoke prior to the fall – showing He created us to be in relationship with others. He did not intend us to do ministry by ourselves.
  2. It misses the way Jesus did ministry. Jesus always got it right: He knew how to balance His time with the Father and with others. He called individuals, preached to the hundreds, and fed the thousands – all while also patiently investing in a few men. Even in his toughest moments (like the Garden of Gethsemane), He wanted men with Him.
  3. It’s dangerous. Let’s be honest: we often make our dumbest decisions when we are alone. Isolation breeds trouble, and that trouble sometimes costs us our ministry. I have met very few leaders who fell when they were sharing life and ministry with others.
  4. It can be self-centered. It sounds odd to say that my desire to work alone can somehow be self-centered, but it can be. It’s my My space. My plans. My ministry. Meanwhile, I share little with others who might long to learn beside their pastor.
  5. It’s not good leadership. Most of us know this truth intellectually, but we don’t practically live it out. If my departure from a church leaves a hole that seriously slows the congregation’s work, I have not been the best leader. I’ve probably, intentionally or unintentionally, built a kingdom around me – and that’s not good.

What Should We Do?

Admit our tendencies. Ask God for courage and wisdom to invest in someone else. Find 1-3 other believers into whose lives we might invest ourselves. Then, do something with these other leaders. Each step will help you break the pattern of being a loner.

 

Friday
Jan272017

This eye-popping article in the "LA Times" really got my attention!

When I haven’t seen someone in a while, it’s common for me to ask, “How are you doing?”  What I often hear is “I’m very busy.”  At times (more so lately), I’m also hearing, “I’m very tired.” Perhaps they go hand-in-glove. Being overly busy can lead to being overly tired, sometimes exhaustion, and moving slowly but surely toward burnout.

Not too long ago I read a book by Kevin DeYoung entitled, “Crazy Busy” with the subtitle “A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem.”

I read it and thought, it must be a really big problem for somebody to write an entire book on being crazy busy. Here is one quote to whet your appetite:

“There are two realities of the modernized, urbanized, globalized world that most everyone else in human history could not fathom; our complexity and our opportunity. …because we can do so much, we do do so much.”

On January 11, 2017 in The Los Angeles Times, there was an article entitled, “How ‘busyness’ became a status symbol.” written by Jena McGregor. Here are a few snippets from the article:

“…being so busy seems to be a badge of honor, a status symbol in our always-on world.”

“…busyness is an actual way people signal their importance—and that marketers are responding to it.”

“Talking about a scarcity of time is ‘a more nuanced way to display [importance] that doesn’t go through conspicuous consumption. It’s implicitly telling you that I am very important, and my human capital is sought after, which is why I’m so busy.’”

“In other words, getting the work done fast and having more time for leisure was not something associated with prestige.”

“Bellezza says managers should shift as much as possible their attention to what people are producing, rather than how long they’re in the office.”

Now, pause and think!

1.  Are you crazy busy, as Kevin DeYoung wrote?

2.  Is your value and worth in who you are in Jesus and who he is in you or has a subtle shift taken place in your thinking and action so that your sense of value and worth is in how busy you are? Be honest with yourself!

3.  Ask family and friends if you have fallen into the trap and bought into the unbiblical mindset of assuming that busyness equals importance and has become a status symbol for you.

Tough questions that demand thoughtful and prayerful answers!

“Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

“It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2, ESV

 

 

Wednesday
Jan252017

Three signs of woraholism

Many leaders have a work ethic that is not healthy. They travel too fast and try to do too much.

They may have their value and worth in what they do for Jesus rather than who they are in Jesus.

It's too tempting to be so involved in the work of the Lord, that we forget the Lord of the work.

Eric Geiger share three ways to recognize workaholism in ministry.

Originally posted by Eric Geiger

Ministry can attract workaholics because working non-stop in ministry can feel holy and attract applause. But being a workaholic in any role is never holy, and it always leaves one hollow. Families suffer. Relationships are harmed. No one wins.

Ministry leaders, like all leaders, are prone to either laziness or workaholism. On your worst days, on days when you are not living in submission to Christ, you either move toward being lazy or move toward finding your meaning in work. By God’s grace, we don’t need to live in either. But how do we recognize workaholism in ministry? What does it look like in our hearts? Here are three indicators:

1. Misplaced identity

If we find our worth in our work, we are workaholics. If my outlook on life is wrapped up in how “work is going,” in how I feel I am performing, then my identity is fully found in my job or career. If our rejoicing is based on the fruit of our ministry, our identity is found in what we do for Christ and not in what Christ has done for us. When identity is in work, working more and more is the logical response. Think about it: Why would you not give more to the place or role that defines you? A way to recognize workaholism is to evaluate how much of our outlook and perspective is formed by how ministry is going.

2. Cluttered mind

If our minds are continually focused on our roles and our jobs, we are unable to focus on family, friends, and other important aspects of our lives. If my mind is constantly on work, it has become primary for me. If a ministry leader cannot enjoy dinner with a spouse or wrestling with kids because ministry responsibilities are constantly on the mind, then workaholism is gaining traction in the heart.

3. Unloved family

The best way to detect workaholism in our hearts is to ask the ones closest to us. If our spouse feels the ministry is hurting the family, we should listen closely. Ask your wife. Ask your husband. We should never serve and love others without first serving and loving our families.

 

 

 

 

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