Your Executive Assistant Is Your Secret Weapon and Business Partner

  • Jan Jones


In the beginning, assistants to powerful businessmen and decision-makers were known as secretaries (from the Latin secretarius, meaning person entrusted with secrets). Long before Peter Drucker wrote in his influential book The Effective Executive that “the executive is, first of all, expected to get the right things done,”1 secretaries to a handful of fortunate executives were asking themselves, “What needs to be done and how can I make that happen?” In asking that question, the secretary understood that in order for her boss to be effective, she would have to take over a number of tasks that were not a good use of his time if he was to get the “right” things done. Because she understood the value of his time, she was happy to get him lunch, make him coffee, pick up his dry cleaning, or select a gift for his wife. If it contributed to his productivity, she was happy to do it. Those were the more visible “menial” tasks that everyone saw, labeled as inconsequential, and assumed were the full extent of the secretary’s role. “Myopic stupidity” is how Simon Sinek, author of the worldwide best seller Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, described that kind of thinking during our interview. “Anybody who says that doesn’t understand that the devil’s in the details. Details aren’t menial. It’s not glamorous, it’s not the stuff that gets all the attention, but it’s the stuff that if it’s not done right, then everything else collapses around it.”


Business Partner Personal Brand Business Consultant Business Partnership Donald Trump 
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  1. 1.
    Peter F. Drucker The Effective Executive (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Peter F. Drucker People and Performance (Harvard Business Review Press, 2007), p. 80.Google Scholar

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© Jan Jones 2015

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  • Jan Jones

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