In order to develop a strategic administrative partnership with your executive, you need to connect daily on all the important details and moving parts of what is happening. Yet, many assistants say they only meet with their executives on a weekly basis, if that. Others struggle to get their executive to meet with them daily because of their executive’s busy schedule. One executive even told me that he doesn’t meet with his assistant because she isn’t organized enough, and it’s a total waste of his time.
In my experience, there are a few key reasons why a daily meeting doesn’t occur:
- You haven’t asked or initiated a daily meeting.
- You asked, but didn’t put it on your executive’s calendar to reserve the time.
- You put it on their calendar, but the time allotted doesn’t get honored by one or both parties.
- You don’t have a standard agenda, so the meetings are disjointed and unorganized when you do have them which makes you both uncomfortable (and neither of you wants more of that).
- Your executive travels a lot, so it’s difficult to get face time with him or her on a daily basis.
If any of these sound familiar to you, it’s time to hit reset on the daily meeting.
The Daily Meeting is Not Negotiable
The daily meeting with your executive is crucial to your success and theirs. The best way for you to get to know your executive and what makes him or her tick is to have daily personal contact with them. You want to create an environment where a strong partnership can grow and thrive. These daily meetings create opportunities for your executive to share information, thoughts, insights, and feedback with you. They give you the chance to do the same. That’s how you get to know one another at a deep level. That’s how trust and respect develops. And that is the foundation for a meaningful working relationship with your executive.
In the book, The Cubs Way, author Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated’s senior baseball writer and baseball analyst, highlights 13 core principles of managing, according to Cubs Manager, Joe Maddon. The first principle is “Make a personal connection first; everything else follows.” Verducci writes:
“How does Maddon create that connection? ‘You do that by conversation, you do that by talking,’ Maddon said. ‘How is your family? What’s going on? What are you thinking? Where are you from? All kinds of personal questions. Just get in there a little bit and try to find some common ground. What makes you light up a little bit? What interests you? And as we keep moving along, from that there are going to be these moments and baseball.”
Maddon continues, “What eventually occurs after that is that we have arrived at this point of trust. Now I can be constructively critical, and you are not going to push back. You are not going to think I’m picking on you. And it works both ways.’”
As you develop a strategic partnership with your executive, it’s your job to train them on what you can do for them – and a daily meeting is a great way to increase their trust in and reliance on you. The daily meeting is where you discuss daily, weekly, and monthly calendars. What is going on? What do we need to prepare for? What has changed or shifted since the last time we talked? Who do we need to get involved to help us with things?
This is also where you get guidance and coaching on prioritizing work, and how to respond to meeting requests that come in or email communications you receive. The daily meeting is how you develop a deeper relationship with your executive and learn their preferences for scheduling, meeting logistics, communication, and more. You come prepared with questions and details related to the key projects, meetings, and activities of the week, and they give you the coaching, support, and information you need to be able to take action and complete tasks.
When you both know the purpose behind the daily meeting, it helps establish it as a non-negotiable priority that will help your executive function in his or her role as much as it helps you function in yours.
Prepare for the Daily Meeting
Before you walk into your executive’s office, you need to create a standard meeting agenda that you follow religiously. This helps you be prepared and shows your executive you are serious about the meeting and respect their time.
Things you should include on your agenda:
- Calendar Management – Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Review
- Meeting(s) Requests – Priorities, Participants, and Timing
- Meeting(s) Preparation – Presentations, Research, and Logistics
- Travel Planning – Preferences, Pre-trip Preparations, etc.
- Communications – Email, Voicemail, Memos, and Letters
- Projects – Status, Questions and Bottlenecks
- Trends, Observations, and Requests – Things you see or hear that need to be shared or requests for things you need to do your job effectively
Some days you may have things for every agenda category. Other days you may only have a few things to discuss. Either way, a good agenda keeps you both prepared and confident everything will get covered because you have a system in place that makes the meetings effective and efficient for both of you.
Travel Days Are No Exception
Even if your executive travels a lot, there’s no excuse for skipping the daily meeting. Technology makes this a moot point. You can connect by video or a call using almost any smart phone. There’s virtual meeting technology that allows for screen sharing and video simultaneously. While it may not be quite as convenient as walking through your executive’s door and meeting face-to-face, it’s still crucial to keeping your executive and the entire office running smoothly.
The travel days may require adjusting the agenda slightly for time and availability. You may also need to use more digital communications, such as email and texting to fill in the gaps. I recommend (and personally use) virtual tools like GoToMeeting, Skype, Teamwork, and Dropbox to keep in touch with my own team when I’m on the go.
It doesn’t matter when, where, or how you schedule it, as long as the meeting takes place. And it’s even more important to be prepared for these virtual meetings, because your executive will likely be busy, tired, and stressed. Despite this, it’s still quite reasonable to fit a quick meeting in even during hectic travel periods.
Implementing the Daily Meeting
If you want to keep the lines of communication open, reduce your stress level, gain more control over the chaos, and stay more than one step ahead of your executive, a daily meeting is required. Create an agenda that covers all of the key elements you are responsible for in supporting your executive(s) and team. Have a discussion with your executive(s) about the benefits of this daily connection and share your agenda so they can provide input as well. Then initiate the daily meeting.
Remain flexible as you adjust to this new routine. Some days you may not be able to meet at the exact same time or for the same length of time. Start by reserving 30 minutes in the day. Some days it may only take 10 to 15 minutes. Other days, you may need more time. Even when time is short, commit to five to 10 minutes to cover the most pressing items.
The time you spend with your executive each day allows you to get their perspective and input on priorities, helps you learn what they value and why, and keeps you both connected on the important initiatives driving your company forward. It also strengthens your professional partnership and demonstrates the value, care, and commitment you bring to your executive and organization.
As an administrative professional, your job is to support your executive in any way possible, but without daily meetings, you won’t know where that support is needed. Daily check-ins allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of the company, and make you an invaluable asset your executive won’t be able to live without!
Looking for more help in initiating and planning for those crucial daily meetings? These books have helped me, and I believe they’ll help you, too.
- Executives & Assistants Working in Partnership by Joan Burge and Chrissy Scivicque
- Not Just An Admin by Peggy Vasquez
This article first appeared in Executive Support Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe through us. Visit the website at www.executivesupportmagazine.