We all need a little extra help sometimes. For others, the need is incessantly present. And even though we can complete tasks ourselves in half the time it would take to delegate and explain the same task to another person, the menial aspects of your day-to-day business add up. Gina Cotner understands this all too well. In this week’s episode of the Perfect RIA podcast, she stops by the studio and explains to listeners just how gratifying and important hiring an executive assistant (EA) can be. Cotner is the CEO and Founder of Athena Executive Services, and within the time she spends being interviewed by host Matthew Jarvis, she provides a concise conspectus of the benefits to be gained by working in person or remotely with an EA.
Without wasting any time, Cotner underlines the most important facet of the interview by providing the catchy phrase: “you get what you inspect, not what you expect.” To experience the full flavor and nuance of the phrase, listening to the episode does more justice than offering an explanation here; but, essentially, Cotner is reminding listeners of the close correlation between input and output when considering delegating tasks to someone else. For example, if you raise your expectations without having properly inspected the work that an assistant has done or is about to do, then you are going to be frustrated with the results. What Cotner explains is that a proper dynamic needs to be established between an executive and the person that is responsible for the delegated tasks. If tasks are divvied out without adequate explanation or preferences are not underlined, then one can expect the results to be off.
To further explain this sentiment, host Matthew Jarvis explains that he is very specific with his travel arrangements. This means that there is little margin for error when it comes to organizing his travel itinerary—booking flights, airline preferences, hotel arrangements, etc. When he first hired a professional to take care of travel, he did so on a very tentative, trial-run basis. He explains that because he is a tall guy, he absolutely cannot stand sitting in bulkhead rows while he travels by plane. But unfortunately for Matt, his assistant had messed up that facet of his travel experience; she booked a flight where he would be sitting in a bulkhead row. Then it dawned on him that he had never specified that he couldn’t stand bulkhead rows. What he had essentially done was expected without having inspected. And in this interview, this is the lynchpin of Cotner’s message: there has to be a clear means of communication between delegator and delegate. Without this communication and the inspection necessary to make sure that both are on the same page, there won’t be a seamless dynamic between the two.
In the concluding moments of the interview, Cotner stresses that although most people feel that they can accomplish tasks much quicker than when they give them to someone else, once you get past the initial investment and the first time-consuming weeks, where things aren’t running as smoothly as they will eventually become, the whole investment becomes worth it. It is fun, satisfying, and your valuable time is freed up so you can spend your energy on something less menial, and more important for furthering revenue for your business venture. That sounds like a great investment of time to me!
Speaking of investing time…if you want to learn much more about Cotner and what she has to say about the importance of EA’s listen to this episode of the Perfect RIA podcast.
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