The best admins are fortune tellers

At the Admin Pro Forum 2018 conference in Orlando, Lucy Brazier, CEO of Marcham Publishing, told her audience a suspense story.

She was rushing back to the airport after a trip to New York City and found herself in a cab in the pouring rain. Traffic clogged the streets and the clock was ticking. Checking the time, she realized she had 35 productive minutes in that cab, so she decided to make the most of it.

She called Matthew, her assistant, and asked him a key question: “Exactly what happens if I miss this plane?”

Matthew was ready for it. He took her through all the possible scenarios they might face: what the alternative travel options might be, what apologies would have to be made, which concerns would suddenly have to be prioritized over others. She wound up making the plane—but if she hadn’t, she and her admin, through gazing into the crystal ball and preparing for the unexpected, were ready.

Lucy told conference attendees that a truly busy and visible executive is a little like a TV reporter who has to appear credible every moment, yet because of time constraints, can’t always know every detail of what’s really going on. That’s where a great admin comes in, keeping the backstage chaos together so the person up front can seem like everything’s working according to plan.

The next time your executive is facing a very busy day, a big deadline or a major event, that’s your chance to prove you’re a true forward thinker by visualizing all possible outcomes. Imagine a phone call like the one Lucy’s assistant received: Are you always ready for one like it, to think rapidly on your feet so the boss doesn’t have to?