The Organizer : Secrets & Systems from the World's Top Executive Assistants

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9780060392291: The Organizer : Secrets & Systems from the World's Top Executive Assistants

Managing today's fast paced, high-tech office requires a new set of skills that only the most elite corps of executive assistants has achieved. Now, this one-of-a-kind book shares techniques and tips from the assistants in the high-powered offices of Harvey Weinstein, Oliver North, the Chief Strategic Officer of the Walt Disney Corporation, Hollywood stars Nicollette Sheridan and Olympia Dukakis, photographer Matthew Rolston, Michael Eisner, Stacey Snider, and others. New--and even experienced--executive assistants and office mangers will learn how to avoid pitfalls and keep the busiest boss and office running without a glitch.

The Organizer provides essential information on:

  • Office etiquette--from handling clients to avoiding gossip to solving conflicts

  • Telephones--tracking calls, creating phone logs and important number cards

  • Computers--interfacing with the Help Desk, creating essential templates and files, utilizing e-mail and the Internet

  • Meetings and scheduling--set up, confirmations, agendas, internal vs. out-of-office, and strategic, step-by-step checklists

  • Travel and itineraries--updating, transportation and hotel tips, working with the boss while in-transit, expense reports

  • Communication--building trust; arranging daily, weekly, and monthly meetings

  • Dress code--dos and don'ts for achieving a professional appearance

  • The "cheat book"--compiling essential information for instant access

  • Filing--how to set up systems that work

  • Interns and temps--find, interviewing, and managing

  • Personal errands--juggling dry cleaning, car, family, and house

  • And much more

Filled with useable sample documents, worksheets, and checklists useful for every office and situation, The Organizer is the essential guide for succeeding in today's hectic, multimedia office.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Educated in Boston and Los Angeles, Anna-Carin Jean has years of experience assisting top executives at ICM and Disney, as well as several Hollywood stars.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


Office Etiquette
Here is a story from an assistant named Debi:
I had recently started at a new firm. It was my second week, and I was still settling in. In my previous positions I had not needed to do personal things for my bosses or anyone else in the office. One day during lunch one of the partners of the firm came out of her office and shouted to no one in particular, "Can someone go out and pick up my lunch order?" I ignored her and went about my business. My co-workers were all looking at me. Evidently, because I was in her line of sight, the comment was directed at me. I was instructed to grab some petty cash and schlep down the street for her lunch. Upon my return, I escorted the brown paper lunch bag into her office. I noticed there was someone else in the office with her. I figured that he was her friend and they were just hanging out. I held out the bag to her and turned to walk away. She grabbed my arm and said through her teeth, "Can you put it on a plate?" I walked out of her office, went to the kitchen, found a plate, and put the styrofoam containers onto it. Right before I opened her door, her assistant caught me and said, "You need to take everything out of the containers and put them onto the plate. Make it look nice and not 'take-out-ish.' Remember to bring in a napkin and utensils." I went back to the kitchen, set out the meal as instructed, and walked back into her office. She snatched the plate from me and handed it to the man in the office. She growled through her teeth, "Thank you." I left her office, perplexed. My co-workers explained to me that when at the office, it's all about presentation. Also, the lunch was for the other person, possibly a client whom the boss wanted to impress. What better way to make a great impression than by having a top-notch staff at her fingertips that she can rely on for one hundred percent perfection?
While office etiquette is a topic broad enough to fill a book or two of its own, this chapter gives you the basics. Without good etiquette, no amount of accomplishment will overcome the lack of a professional image. The following tips are not hard to understand, and you will find that most of them are commonsense things such as being polite to clients and co-workers, being neat, admitting your mistakes, and helping out when others are swamped. This probably isn't new to you, but we all need a little reminder every once in a while!

Clients and Business Associates
A client or associate is someone you are trying to impress. You want them to feel confident about their decision to bring their business to you. You are often the one who creates the first impression of your company when a client comes to visit. So, remember all of those manners that your mother taught you and use them. Be as friendly and polite as you can be. Never make the client feel like they are interrupting your busy work day.
*Introduce yourself to the client. Make eye contact as you shake their hand.
*When a client comes into the office, always offer them something to drink. If they ask for coffee, make sure to ask how they would like it. If they ask for Equal, do not grab Sweet'n Low and expect them not to notice. There is a difference.
*When a client comes into the building for a meeting, always escort them to the meeting area. You may be busy, but your boss will allow you a moment to personally escort the client rather then allow them to wander aimlessly through the building.
*The client should be waiting in a comfortable waiting area until your boss is ready for the meeting. Your boss may not like the client sitting in their office waiting for them.
*If you have to interrupt a meeting to give a message to someone in the meeting, excuse yourself for interrupting and be brief with your message.
Conflicts
*When you are angry, learn to walk away. Take a quick trot around the block. Do whatever it takes to calm down and think rationally before you return to your office.
*If you must have a confrontation, have all of the facts and speak in a calm, rational tone. Let the other person(s) speak as well. For every negative, try to give a positive. After the situation is resolved, forgive and forget. No one likes a grudge holder. It's ugly.
*If you have asked a colleague to do something for you and they are unable to get it done, you may need assistance from their superior. If this is the case, have the courtesy to inform your colleague of your plans. You are not running off and "telling on them," you simply need to get something done. Do not be obnoxious about it. No one likes a tattletale.
Cubicle and Surrounding Office Area
*Keep your office area clean. If you spill coffee on your desk and floor, do not let it sit and seep into the rug. Clean it up! Dust your area once or twice a week.
*If you have a visitor, do not let them linger around your desk. Your boss will think you are rushing through your work to leave the office early with your guest.
*Take the initiative! If the copier or fax machine is giving you light copies or is constantly jamming, either fix it yourself or call a repair person. Do not walk away or ignore the problem.
*If supplies are low, do not take the last item and wait for some else to restock your supply. Anticipate office needs!
*Keep kitchen area clean.
*Check the stock of supplies in your boss' office. Make sure she has enough of the supplies she uses regularly. Especially note their business card supply, as these may take a week or two to re-order.

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