In my interview with Adam we discuss his belief that Executive Assistants must take charge of their professional destiny because if they fail to do so, they risk others stepping in to influence it that do not understand the role and the true value that Executive Assistants can offer organisations and individual leaders.
The overarching theme of Adam’s work is about encouraging and enabling EA’s to align their behaviours with what is expected of a mid level manager and the sorts of EQ skills that are focused on in leadership development. He has a higher vision for the role which he articulates in his EA manifesto but rather than this vision being some sort of airy fairy, non-specific ideal he advocates for it being based on a proven foundation of skills development.
I’m already calling out that I’m going to have Adam back on the podcast for us to debate the word ‘indispensable’ as you will hear that he’s not a fan of it. I actually think he and I are in agreement and that it’s about not striving for something you can never achieve, because as we’ve discussed, we’re all dispensable. Anyway…
Top takeaways from interview with Adam
Credibility is achieved through getting the job done, being professional and being qualified - therefore EA’s need to choose high calibre events to attend that will reflect well on them and be seen as an effective use of their time.
Focus on what you need to do to be seen as more ‘managerial’, more professional in your role. That means looking closely at what activities and tasks you are spending your time on and look at identifying how you can develop into more red box activities.
Aligned with this is spending time in ‘boss mode’ as opposed to ‘pa mode’. Thinking proactively, using initiative, having a growth mindset and asking less for permission and more for confirmation or correction. Boss Mode is about understanding your leaders’ objectives and priorities as well as the organisations and thinking strategically about how you can advance those without being given explicit instruction.
This is where Adam’s metaphor of moving up from the dancefloor is so powerful… I love this metaphor, I keep humming Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s song “Murder on the Dancefloor” (link to Youtube clip in the Shownotes for those of you that don’t know it)
Finally Adam acknowledges that there will always be a place for black box activities, he says these are the bread and butter tasks of EA’s but the reality is that no one ever got promoted for being great with Excel or Powerpoint. You may need to help your boss see your value in doing ‘red box’ activities but once they’ve experienced the benefits they will be converts. Saving your boss time makes you a huge asset but it requires you to act and work independently.
PA Life Interview
Connect with Adam Fidler on LinkedIn
Adam Fidler Academy website
Sophie Ellis-Bextor “Murder On The Dancefloor”
Adam Fidler’s “What I am” EA manifesto