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Are Executive Assistants Servant-Leaders? Part 1

FlyPrivateRecently we’ve heard executive assistants mentioning
Servant-Leader without being sure what it is, or if it has any relevance to executive assistants. We know this is not some new buzzword because you wrote about it in your book. Can you say something about how the Servant-Leader concept is relevant to the EA role?

Jan Jones: Yes, I’ll be happy to discuss that here and perhaps we can do a Part 2 to this discussion where we can explore what I believe is even more relevant for executive assistants and that is the concept of Exemplary Followership, which in a few words is self-managed “followers” who think for themselves and whose hearts are in their work.

Servant-Leader and Servant Leadership are not new concepts. Robert Greenleaf coined the terms in an essay he wrote in 1970. He got the inspiration from reading Herman Hesse’s book, “Journey to the East”. Greenleaf spent forty years at AT&T in management
research, development and education. After that he was an
influential consultant.

In my 2015 book “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”, I told the story of Leo the servant in Hesse’s book. Hesse wrote “In addition to his menial chores, Leo sustained the group (of travelers) with his spirit.” When Leo left the group, they fell into disarray and the journey was
abandoned because they could not make it without Leo.

I said this reminded me of the role an executive assistant plays in an organization. They perform tasks that are sometimes perceived as menial, yet “They hold together and sustain the multiple activities and personalities that keep an enterprise going.”

I was introduced to Greenleaf by management guru Dr. Ken
Blanchard who was a good friend of my boss at the time, Tony
Robbins. When I was writing my book, Dr. Blanchard invited me to his home and spent a full day with me, giving me advice and
direction. This showed me first hand who servant-leaders are. They live true to their principles. In my book I’m sure you noticed Dr.
Blanchard’s relationship with his wonderful assistant, Dana Kyle, whom he likened to a “soul mate”. Reading his comments you
experience the servant-leader in action. They are leaders who listen closely to their teams, care about them on a personal level, care about their development and value their contributions.

Appreciation for the servant leadership concept didn’t come easily to a rugged individualist like me. I struggled with the term “servant-leader” because the words usually mean the opposite of each other. People don’t want to be perceived as servants, particularly
assistants whose role through the years has sometimes been spoken of in derogatory terms, analogous to servant. This is probably why a personality in the EA profession recently referred to the assistant role of earlier generations as being “tea and typing”. A massive
blunder on her part, but if you’ve never been an assistant, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing the stereotype. When I read about Leo in Herman Hesse’s book, I suddenly became clear about what a servant-leader is, and how true executive assistants have been
examples of the concept for generations.

In my book, Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why”, said that a huge mistake executives make is “Treating their assistant as a
subordinate. What they don’t recognize is if you look after the
person and look after their growth as a human being, they will want to do everything in their power to keep you healthy, happy and productive.”

Does Simon’s description sound a lot like what an executive
assistant does for their executive and their team? It’s about having the heart of someone who wants to serve and be of service. That’s how secretaries of previous generations expressed the essence of the role. They were intensely loyal to the executive they served. Not that they didn’t understand that they served the larger organization as well, but their loyalty was first and foremost to their direct
executive. They looked out for them and kept them protected. Some secretaries smothered their executives. Others took their
protection too far by keeping tight control on access to their
executive. This was done because the secretary saw themselves as the protector of their executive’s time. With that in mind, there was little the secretary would not do in service of their executive.

While they had the best intentions, that thinking was exclusionary, not inclusionary, which is contrary to the idea of servant leadership. But realize that in previous generations business style was much more formal than it is now, particularly in the executive suite. Many executives wanted an assistant who projected a formidable persona to create the perception of exclusivity around the executive. I was a secretary in those days and if you wanted to be executive secretary to a high level executive, you were expected to bring a certain
authoritative demeanor to the role.

It is important for the current generation of assistants to
understand the basic concepts of servant leadership because its
influence is widespread now, and many companies such as SAS,
Marriott, Nordstrom, Men’s Warehouse have instituted servant leadership practices and offer servant-leader training. With the growing influence of servant leadership, EAs may find themselves working for an executive who is committed to being a servant-leader. It can be a radically different experience and one that takes getting used to because you are asked to step up and be mindful of your better nature at all times. Embodying what it truly means to be a servant-leader is not easy, and certainly cannot be trivialized as the latest buzzword. Servant leadership doesn’t happen overnight. It is a long-term transformation for people and organizations.

Greenleaf wrote: “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then
conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead… The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people
develop and perform as highly as possible.”

I’ve abridged that paragraph from Greenleaf for the purpose of this interview. It is lengthy and the most quoted of his entire essay.
Debating whether or not we should put others’ needs ahead of our own is a discussion for another time. To me, it simply points us to constantly remember to be decent human beings who are
considerate of each other, finding ways to work and support each other so we can all live fulfilled lives. Servant leadership espouses lofty goals. From my perspective, the server is as valuable as the
person being served. Servant leadership is not a one-way street. It is not about subjugating yourself. It is about claiming yourself, living to your highest purpose while supporting others to do the same.

Here are some characteristics of Servant Leadership as explained by the former CEO of the Greenleaf organization, Larry Spears. I’ve added my take on the relevance for EAs.

Listening: Listening is vital to the growth of a servant-leader. Listen intently and receptively to others. It means getting in touch with your own inner voice to understand what it is communicating to you. Listening and reflecting are essential to the role of the servant-leader, and a crucial characteristic for an executive assistant. Former Popeyes’ CEO Cheryl Bachelder says “Listening well is the path to serving well.”

Healing: The potential for healing one’s self and others is a powerful force for transformation. Assistants routinely come across people who need help and encouragement. Find ways to be of service,
without neglecting your core responsibilities, or becoming
overwhelmed by other people’s issues. I knew an EA who used to volunteer for a suicide hotline. She had to stop because she became too depressed and it was seriously impacting her job as assistant to a senior VP. This is about having empathy, not taking on someone else’s problems.

Awareness: Particularly self-awareness. Many executives lack
self-awareness (about their values and how others perceive them). Pay attention to your impact on people and how you conduct
yourself. You represent your executive and you represent yourself. Make sure you always put your best foot forward, and your radar is on at all times.

Persuasion: Using persuasion rather than authority. Assistants should be used to this since most of them don’t have any direct or positional authority, yet they manage to get things done through
collaboration, resourcefulness and treating others respectfully.

Foresight: Understanding the lessons of the past to look ahead and avoid problems in the future. Assistants must develop their ability to anticipate. It’s the biggest complaint I hear from executives. Being prepared gives you a big advantage in supporting your executive and independently spearheading projects. Your position in the executive suite gives you a bird’s-eye view advantage, so use that data
strategically to plan your course of action.

How will you apply these characteristics to your role as executive assistant? Remember servant leadership is for people at all levels, not just for people with a “C” in their title (CEO, CFO). As a servant-leader, the assistant must understand their stewardship to their
executive and to the organization of which they are a part. Servant leadership is not asking you to be submissive. You are being
encouraged to build and be a part of something. Something you care about. Tune into the needs of your executive so they feel looked
after and nurtured by you. Whether it is business needs or basic
human needs like planning down time in their schedule, or having a sandwich ready to nourish them before they race off to yet another meeting. What can you do to give them respite from the pressures of the business day – things that say “I’m here to support you.”

“Support” is the operative word. The role of the assistant is to
support and assist. As much as we speak about “partnerships” and “relationships”, it must be remembered that the executive is hiring the assistant to provide the support the executive needs in carrying out the company’s mandate. All efforts must be in service of this
requirement. This is not limiting the assistant. It is expanding the
assistant. There are many directions in which a spirited, resourceful assistant can take the role if they are looking out for the best
interests of their executives and the organization. There is much that can be done by an assistant with bold vision and a sense of
purpose who wants to take the lead. It is only limiting if “what’s best for me” is your predominant focus.

Ideally, the executive has already adopted the role of servant-leader so the executive and assistant are in service and support of each
other. I’ve had the privilege of having such a boss and I can tell you, you will gladly work your heart out for this person, because you know they have your back as much as you have theirs. You realize they truly see you as a human being, and not just a high achieving, production machine whose mettle they will test to the point of breaking. When this happens, the executive and the assistant are successfully partnered to deliver superior performance. They are aligned and fully engaged, bringing their best to work every day in the true spirit of servant leadership.

Please tune in next time for our discussion on Exemplary
Followership and its relevance for executive assistants.

Author: Jan Jones

For the past three years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do!

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1-11!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

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The Ins and Outs of Private Yacht Charter

The author John ‘Mac’ McDonald, Owner of Mega Yacht Services,
originally hails from Newport, Rhode Island. He spent his early years
sailing lasers, 420s and 470s which initiated a life long passion for sailing and the ocean/water sports.  A career in finance pulled him away from the water for an extended period and he spent 18 years working on the Chicago and New York options exchanges. It was during this time that his burgeoning interest in food and wine led him to start exploring
investment opportunities in this sector. In 2015 he took the plunge and purchased Mega Yacht Services, a business established in St. Maarten 16 years previously. His business acumen and experience on Wall Street
provides him with a unique understanding of what high net worth
individuals want and expect from a service provider in this market. Mega Yacht Services is now entering a new chapter as John drives the
company’s expansion into Europe.


There’s a big world to explore and with all the charter options
available to you, both by air and sea, the world is getting smaller every day. There’s no time like the present to break out a map and pick a place to see next. If private yacht charter is new to you, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before booking your super yacht charter. There is a yacht for everyone. Start with the basics, and let the luxuries take care of themselves.

1. Plan Your Destinations

Do you want to marvel in the uncharted, natural treasures of the
Bahamas or Virgin Islands from your own remote white sand beach? Maybe you want to spend some time exploring the culture and night life at your favorite Caribbean ports. Perhaps you prefer to stay stateside and head down to the Florida Keys or chart a course to Greece for the history and food?  There’s a big world to see. Luckily you have more than one season to see it all. Consider the time of year you would like to travel in order to match up with the best weather.

2. Consider Your Budget

Starting with a budget will allow you to plan your perfect trip within parameters that will work for you. The destination will play a role in your budget, as well as the size and type of yacht, and whether it is wind or motor powered. When planning your trip ask yourself…What are the costs and are they paid up front, or will you be billed at the end of your charter? Who is handling that payment on your end? How many toys are you bringing or will your yacht charter supply them? If you are planning to use toys (i.e. jet skis, scuba gear, surf boards, etc.) what will you need or be bringing with you and how many of each? Small extras from factoring in extra stops, to fighting for coveted dinner reservations, can add up quickly. Have your total budget in mind and find a company that will work backwards to give you the best experience for your money.

 

3. Be Mindful of Your Guests

Discuss your guests’ needs and wants with your charter company. They will want to know how many people you’ll be bringing and where they are coming from. If there are going to be children on the trip, make sure you relay their ages and any special requests for
entertainment on board or at sea, as well as any special dietary
restrictions or preferences. If you are bringing pets, you’ll want to communicate this information as well to set expectations with your charter company. This information affects everything from the
provisioning to the schedule you set, so know who you’re traveling with and what their needs are when you start your planning.

4. Stay in Range

The nautical range and duration of the trip is high on the list once the guest count has been decided upon. You’ll want a company that is well versed in logistics planning, a company who is able to
implement contingency plans if travel gets interrupted.

5. Determine Your Vacation Duration

The size of your boat, distance you’re looking to cover, and whether you need to pick people up on the way, can affect your port
selection. Some people just want to get to their destination while others prefer to travel without time constraints. Communicating your travel style will help your charter company plan an itinerary that works for you.

Once you’ve decided these five things, the right charter company can make vacation planning basically plug and play. The right
company will listen to the client’s needs and wants and help them to understand the difference between the two. Knowing this
information will help your charter company put you into the ideal yacht that checks all the “need” boxes and as many of the “want” boxes as possible, within the given budget.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 11 – Can Executive Assistants be effective working remotely?

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.


For the past three years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do!

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1-10!

FlyPrivateCan executive assistants be effective if they are working remotely?  What about virtual assistants? Can executives have their business needs met by using remote or virtual assistants?

Jan Jones: As the old saying goes, “there’s horses for courses”.
Meaning depending on the circumstances or conditions, assistants can be effective working remotely and many executives can have their business needs met by using remotely-located or virtual
assistants. We should take a closer look at the circumstances under which executives could function effectively using assistants who are working remotely, or are virtual assistants, to determine how
effective they can be.

Let’s take working remotely first. Actually, this is not something new. I was recently speaking with a former CEO of an international fast food organization. He told me that in the 1980s, within a few months of each other, several of his company’s assistants became pregnant, or wanted to leave due to their childcare situations. Since they had been with the company a long time and he didn’t want to lose their years of experience, he set them up with computers in their homes. He told them, “I don’t care when or how you work, just get the work done and deliver it on time.”  Technology today makes computers affordable and the internet gives us immense freedom to work from just about anywhere we choose, so it makes sense that remote and virtual assistants are gaining in popularity.

But how suitable is it for an executive who needs a certain level of support from an assistant? I checked in with two of the best, most celebrated executive assistants I know: Penni Pike former assistant to Sir Richard Branson for 31 years and Debbie Gross who spent over 25 years as assistant to John Chambers, former CEO and
current Executive Chairman of Cisco Systems. Both ladies are
featured in my book “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”.

Penni told me “Richard included me in everything”, which is how she came to know and understand the Virgin business and what
mattered most to her boss. When I asked her about assistants
working remotely she said, “I can’t understand that because I always worked so closely with Richard. He needed his assistant by his side. People at the very top have to have someone who works with them like that. Otherwise, if they need something urgently, the assistant is not there. Richard needs someone with him all the time.”

Debbie Gross said, “For administrative professionals, working
remotely has become more of the ‘norm’ in today’s business world partly due to the change in business models.  Many administrators support teams that are based around the world and are never
actually in a traditional office.  With the advance in video
technologies, it has definitely become easier to work remotely.

“That being said, one of the key roles I believe an administrator plays is their ability to build relationships across all levels and be the eyes and ears for the people they support.  Harder to do effectively from a ‘home-office’ environment. This was a critical component of my role supporting a CEO making working remotely not really an
option. John always expected me to be the ‘face’ of the office
especially when he traveled.  When he would check in while on the road he always asked how things were going at the office, so I felt it was key that I be present there. It was about noticing what was
going on around me with other members of the organization and
being able to feel the pulse and morale and share that with John.  He was pretty adamant that executive assistants be in the office, so I am not sure I would have been hired to support him if one of my
requirements was to work from home. Many senior level executives prefer to have their executive assistants in the office, especially the higher they are in their organizations.”

This has also been my experience in my career as an executive
assistant. My jobs were much too interactive with my boss, staff, clients and vendors for me to be outside the office. Like Debbie Gross, my executives counted on me to be their ‘eyes and ears’ and their ‘face’ to the world. Situations were constantly arising that needed my immediate attention. Leaving my desk to go pick up a sandwich at lunchtime could prove tricky. When I worked for bosses who were constantly traveling, on the rare days they were
scheduled to be in the office, I brought my lunch to work so I would not have to be away from my desk for more than a few minutes. Meetings were being set up, canceled or moved at a moment’s
notice, people would drop by unannounced, phone calls were being made, sometimes I was holding 2 or 3 calls at the same time, project approvals were needed, documents required signature, and there were always more travel arrangements to be made, changed or
canceled. Most executives I worked for were constantly calling out for me and I tried to always be within earshot, or have my assistant or someone listen out and let me know if I was being yelled for.  How would I have managed all this remotely?

I am currently working on a project with an assistant who is located remotely and I find it arduous. Work that should take 2 days is taking 5 or 6 due to the back and forth across international time zones. Yet, I am constantly meeting assistants who say they’ve negotiated with their executives to work remotely. Perhaps these executives have become accustomed to doing many tasks their assistants should be doing, or much of the work their assistants do for them is not of an urgent or time-sensitive nature.  Their assistants probably aren’t functioning as their liaison or deputy as I did, or as Gross and Pike did for their executives.

A big negative with the arrangement of assistants working remotely is the burden it places on assistants who are working at the office. I hear complaints that the remote assistants show themselves as “available”, but when they are contacted they don’t respond for hours, sometimes even an entire day goes by when they are not
responding to emails, texts or phone calls.  The urgency arises to schedule or re-schedule meetings, for example, but the assistant can’t be reached. If the executive is traveling, neither the executive nor their assistant can be reached and too much time is being spent by other assistants trying to contact them, cover for them, or
wasting time putting their own tasks on hold waiting for a response. I’ve inquired why these assistants don’t insist HR or the remote
assistant’s boss does something about it. HR tells them the boss agreed the assistant could work remotely when they hired them, so there’s nothing they can do. This is a cop-out by HR and the
executive. They must step up and consider the overall effects this situation has on the company. If this arrangement were impeding my workplace productivity, I would actively agitate for it to be changed. I would lobby HR not to allow executives to agree to letting their
assistants work remotely, but instead offer it as an option with
certain conditions, mainly that the assistant proves they are mature and responsible enough to warrant that privilege.

The bigger concern I have for assistants working remotely is how do they learn the business? How do they grow and expand in the role if they are not there to witness the daily ins and outs of the business environment? How do they develop a relationship of trust and
familiarity with their executive if they are not in physical proximity to each other? Ultimately, are they setting themselves up to become redundant? With warnings about A.I. and virtual assistants stepping in to fill many of the routine tasks assistants do, I would pay close
attention to developing skills and processes that make me more valuable and available to my executive.

The exception to this is assistants who have been with their
executive a long time, have built up a strong relationship with an
understanding of the business and each other. If the business is in a mature phase, or the executive’s role is such that they can be gone for periods of time, their assistants have the freedom to work remotely.

Penni mentioned that she thought assistants working remotely might get lonely. Debbie also addressed this from her experience at Cisco. “3 years ago I came to recognize that at Cisco, there was a whole administrative community that worked remotely and in
talking with several of these administrative professionals it became clear that they all felt a sense of isolation from the broader
administrative community.  As a result we pulled together this group and created an initiative known as G.R.A.C.E. – Global Remote
Administrators Connecting Effectively.  This is a group of remote
administrators who come together once a quarter to discuss the challenges they are facing, as well as review of best practices that help them feel connected.

“One of the key areas discussed was the challenge of developing a relationship with the leader because they were remote.  I strongly encourage administrative professionals who are working remotely to make it a point to travel to the corporate office at least once a year and even better, quarterly if they can, in order to ‘connect’ with their peers, meet the people they interface with across the
organization and become ‘visible’ – putting a face to the voice.  I also always suggest that remote administrators attend networking events and administrative conferences to learn and engage with
others in their profession. Working remotely certainly has its
advantages. However, administrative professionals can be even more effective by not isolating themselves. I feel that it is in our
administrative DNA that we connect with others and build strong relationships and that means we have to get out of ‘home-office’
environment to do that.  Many of Cisco’s G.R.A.C.E. members are now coming to the corporate office and networking with their peers, enriching their relationships and friendships and growing their knowledge and ultimately being of greater assistance to the leaders they support.”

Virtual Assistants: I often meet assistants who tell me they are
toying with the idea of trying out being a VA because they perceive it as a freeing experience. The purpose of including information about the VA profession in this article is to help assistants understand what it takes to survive and thrive as a VA.

Thanks to technology, there is a role for virtual assistants in the
business world. I remember from the pre-internet days, a friend of mine who worked at a large university would earn extra money
using her home computer to type students’ assignments, or
professors’ presentations. It stands to reason then, that with the freedom the internet offers us, that the virtual assistant profession would flourish.  Originally, this was a service that many
single-operator or small businesses used, but it is becoming more common for established businesses with ample resources to seek out the services of virtual assistants.

Penni Pike is an advisor for Time, etc., the virtual assistant service started in the UK, but now successfully established in the USA as well. Penni was brought on board by the company’s founder,
Barnaby Lashbrooke to guide them in setting up the business. He said Penni provided invaluable insight into how the EA-Executive
relationship should work and what kind of support executives need. Assistants chosen to work for Time, etc., go through a thorough
vetting process, not only for administrative skills, but for
inter-personal skills such as a client-focused viewpoint,
responsiveness to clients requests, attention to detail and so on. Their VAs are a mix of mid-to-high level, offering a range of skills that are “not all admin based, but include the strategic management side of business as well” said Barnaby.

He says the VA role is not suited for everyone. Many assistants are better suited to working in an office, so Time, etc., probes the prospective assistant’s reasons for wanting to be a VA. This is an
important aspect of the vetting process because it would be
disruptive if clients like working with a particular assistant and
develop an effective working relationship, only to find out the
assistant has moved on. Quality assistants with young families who need the flexibility of working from home, yet still need to bring in an income, are the most typical profile of a VA.

Anita Armas of Anita D. Armas Administrative Services from West Covina in California told me she started her VA business because she needed freedom and flexibility when she was looking for a way to be at home with her young children while still earning an income. Anita said, “I knew there was a way to use my skills and experience to do just that but wasn’t sure how, then I heard about virtual
assistants. My husband’s business was hit hard by the financial crisis of 2008 and I needed another way to bring in additional income, so I officially began marketing myself as a virtual assistant and I soon gained my first client.”

I asked Anita what mindset a person needs to be successful as a VA. “Aside from skills, in order to be successful as a virtual assistant one must be confident, resourceful, thick-skinned, adaptable, a great communicator and have a servant’s heart. As a VA business owner, my business success depends greatly on the success of my clients. A successful VA will not just be a “doer” but will be innovative and strategically invested in his or her clients business, in order to know how to best support their client. A willingness to learn and grow are key,” says Anita. She added that some of the pitfalls a VA can
experience include the client not seeing the VA as an autonomous business owner and leaning towards an employer/employee
mentality. The client feeling a sense of exclusivity, thinking they are the only client the VA has, and lack of communication between the VA and the client.

When assistants tell me they are considering becoming a VA, I
caution them that before they leave a secure, well-paying job with benefits and career advancement opportunities, they should
consider how the uncertainty of not immediately having a steady
income might impact them. They should consider whether or not they are cut out for working alone and whether they are sufficiently disciplined to get down to work every day when they have the
option to work at their own time and pace. It’s easy to romanticize being your own boss when you are operating from the safety of a
secure job. The reality of being self employed can be a wakeup call when you have to prospect for business, deal with unhappy clients, pay bills, collect payments and furnish your own healthcare. Many VAs thrive in the role and others, after a mild flirtation with
independence, gladly return to the security of a full time job.
Evaluate your skills, your disposition and your self-discipline
thoroughly before you venture into the VA world. It is not for
everyone, particularly if you decide not to work through a platform such as Time, etc., preferring to source business on your own.

What’s exciting about all this is the many options assistants of all
calibers and experience levels have at their disposal today.  When you get excited about the opportunities, be sure to think through the potential downsides, not just the upsides. Use this article to make a Pros and Cons list for yourself. I wish you success in whatever you decide.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

The Super Yacht Industry in the Wake of the 2017 Hurricane Season

The author John ‘Mac’ McDonald, Owner of Mega Yacht Services,
originally hails from Newport, Rhode Island. He spent his early years
sailing lasers, 420s and 470s which initiated a life long passion for sailing and the ocean/water sports.  A career in finance pulled him away from the water for an extended period and he spent 18 years working on the Chicago and New York options exchanges. It was during this time that his burgeoning interest in food and wine led him to start exploring
investment opportunities in this sector. In 2015 he took the plunge and purchased Mega Yacht Services, a business established in St. Maarten 16 years previously. His business acumen and experience on Wall Street
provides him with a unique understanding of what high net worth
individuals want and expect from a service provider in this market. Mega Yacht Services is now entering a new chapter as John drives the
company’s expansion into Europe.


As St. Maarten recovers from the worst storm we have faced in over 100 years, it gives me a little time to reflect on the super yacht
industry and its past, present and future. Formerly dominated by sheikhs and tsars and Russian oligarchs, we are starting  to see a more diverse mix of people getting involved in the Super Yacht and Private Jet world. A new class of 30-something American tech
millionaires are entering the market for the first time with 54 meter motor yachts, along with new purpose-built expedition boats
running the Northwest Passage and heading to Antarctica. Along with new destinations, they’re bringing with them a change in the quality and type of the experience they expect. No longer are caviar and champagne nights on the yacht at anchor or at the dock the standard experience. These super yachts are starting to get used as designed, moving frequently between ports with support
crew moving along with the yacht, while private jets are tasked with dropping guests and owners at one port and picking them up
elsewhere at the end of the week. It’s a dynamic time in the luxury travel industry and I am looking forward to what is to come as the mentality incorporates more mobility, and as new ports open up, which means new opportunities.

This trend towards seeking out new experiences has led to more
super yachts towing ‘tenders’ (28’ to 40’ center consoles and even 35’ sport fishers) this season than ever in the past. They allow guests quick, dry access to more remote spots while aboard, or spots where the water is too shallow for the yacht. On one trip through the Northwest Passage, the towed tender was the thing that made the trip for the bosses and guests, giving them closer approaches to
icebergs and creating life-changing memories like seeing narwhals and other sea life surfacing next to the boat. As that owner and many others make plans for their next big trips, the towed tender will be a big part of the equation.

Along with new experiences come new challenges. These new must-see destinations include locations that are not accessible by general aviation for transfers. This has really opened the door for private jet charter companies to step up and offer destinations that are not easy to get to directly from normal aviation options.  As the yacht industry becomes more dynamic, transportation options have to
follow suit.  Clients who might have previously settled for a small commercial flight are now landing at private terminals, being
shuttled to the yacht via helicopter and then returning the same way, and discovering that they prefer it, for security and privacy as well as convenience.

It is an exciting time to be in this industry.  As far as purchases, we are seeing a smaller inventory in what is for sale in the 150’ to 170’ range; boats are moving and people are stepping up in size as
vacations become more bespoke and charter guests make the move to become owners. As mobile access and working from home or
remote becomes more commonplace, I expect to see more people using their yachts as an intrinsic part of their lifestyle rather than just for vacations and short breaks away from the norm.

John ‘Mac’ McDonald
Mega Yacht Services
Plaza Del Lago
Simpson Bay SXM
721.524.4608
mac@megayachtservice.com
www.megayachtservice.com

Q & A with Jan Jones – Part 10 – Collaboration: How Executive Assistants Help Build A Strong Company Culture

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1Part 9!

FlyPrivate: To what extent does it make sense to collaborate with other executive assistants to meet common company-wide goals?

Jan Jones: Assistants collaborating with each other makes complete sense! Communication and cooperation are essential attributes of an effective executive assistant. It cannot be otherwise because the role of the executive assistant includes being a facilitator and a
communication channel for their executive and their organization. Assistants play a vital role in reminding the organization they must do what’s in the best interest of the entire company, not just a
particular department or division.

We know that fully engaged employees have higher productivity
levels, resulting in reduced absenteeism and higher profitability.
Collaborative assistants can have an impact in this regard. It could be as simple as engaging in regular conversations with assistants in other departments. Talk about how your division is functioning. What strategies are you implementing? What challenges are you
experiencing? What projects are getting bogged down? Who are some of the star performers on the team? Who needs coaching?
Research shows that most managers don’t engage in strategy
discussions with their colleagues in other departments. An assistant who engages with fellow assistants can serve to close that
information gap. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be about work. Take time to get to know each other on a personal level. Being part of an organization means you have common goals.
Collaborating to achieve those goals is smart business. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

We’ve all seen examples of assistants playing a role in bringing groups together. They work across boundaries and promote cross-department collaboration. They don’t buy into petty jealousies and suspicions. As a conduit to top management, they can help far-flung departments and locations feel less isolated. As a repository of
information many others don’t have, the EA is able to
judiciously offer guidance and input to other departments.

Sometimes assistants tell me that sharing information isn’t always welcomed. People feel threatened, or disloyal to their team if they share what’s going on. In these circumstances, trust needs to be built. If you use the information they share to get results for them, or improve their circumstances, they will certainly start to trust you and work with you. Without betraying confidentiality, I’m always willing to share information that is needed to get the job done, or, indeed, to make life easier for others. If you know a way to make a situation better, then do so. You’ll enjoy the wellbeing you feel from it.

I’m reminded of an assistant who told me about starting a job at a technology giant. The culture of the organization encouraged people to be fiercely competitive, always vying to get ahead at someone else’s expense. She said no assistant would help her for fear that she would look better than they did, or get ahead faster than they did. You were on your own. I can’t imagine working in such a brutal
environment where everyone is out for themselves. The company’s objectives are subverted by employees protecting their turf. Imagine what a breath of fresh air a capable, confident assistant who is not threatened by others and wants to cooperate would be to an
organization like that? It would cause a huge paradigm shift. It might feel like a herculean task, but such an assistant would catapult
themselves into a higher level position the minute the company starts to feel the effects of this assistant’s outreach. Believe me. I’ve done it. It takes megatons of passion and energy and not everyone is up for it, but if you are, don’t hesitate. The rewards are immense and you’ll grow in stature and ability.

I saw an article by EA trainer, Adam Fidler, which referenced
assistants befriending each other. Adam said, “Share your knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm far and wide. The more you give out the more you get back. Share all your best tips and experience with another EA. Being secretive and defensive creates the wrong energy and if you take the time to share information, and work as a team-spirited EA, you’ll command respect and be seen as a true professional.”

The nature of the EA role is to act as a hub. This means assistants are poised to share information, facilitate decision-making and help avoid bottlenecks, whether it is inter-department, or company-wide. Helping someone in another department gets the job done faster. It facilitates transparency, gives you insight into how they function and where inefficiencies may lie that you can help overcome. When
executives see you working with their assistant, or if they know they can finally get a long-awaited answer simply by their assistant
picking up the phone to you, they’ll notice. Make no mistake about it. They’ll be talking about you in the boardroom as someone who makes things happen. This is how, step-by-step, you get your seat at that proverbial table that many assistants lust after.

One thing that may affect assistants being able to perform this
function of facilitator is the number of assistants who say they don’t read their executives’ emails, and who meet with their executives once a week or less. If you are working like this, you are subject to only knowing what the executive shares with you, or picking up
information indirectly. If you are to serve as a conduit throughout the organization, you must be on top of what’s going on, otherwise you will not be as effective in that role. Another factor is assistants who are so widely focused on interacting with the organization at large that they forget who they are in place to support. Don’t neglect your responsibilities to your primary team members in your quest to be a company-wide ally. Your immediate team must remain your first priority. Keep them supported, assured and strengthened in the knowledge that you are firmly invested in the partnership. With this assurance, they will support and encourage your efforts to be a
company-wide resource.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

_________________________________________________________________________

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 9 – “Multitasking”

 

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1Part 8!

FlyPrivate: We’ve been hearing lately that “multitasking” is a myth and we should stop trying to do too many things at once. But I recall you saying that being good at multitasking was vital to your success as an executive assistant. Can you clarify? 

Jan Jones: Yes, and I fully believe that, but I should clarify and make the distinction about “multitasking” as it pertains to the executive assistant, as opposed to executives and others.

We now have scientific evidence that multitasking is impossible for our brains and that, in fact, when we think we are multitasking what’s happening is that our brains are almost instantaneously switching back and forth from one task to another. It happens so fast that we are mistaken into thinking we are doing more than one thing at a time. And this is easy to prove. Try giving your full attention to reading an important document at the same time you are trying to pay complete attention to a phone call you are having. You will soon become aware that both tasks are suffering and you have to stop one of them.

So when I say that being good at multitasking was vital to my success as an EA, I mean that my ability to switch back and forth between tasks, at a remarkably rapid pace, was crucial to my ability to
succeed in my job and I’m sure that is the case for many EAs. I’ve
observed people trying to “multitask”, and many people are horrible at it. They get confused when trying to do more than one thing at a time. But for me, and outstanding assistants I’ve observed, it’s a piece of cake.

Something else vital for assistants is that there is evidence, as
published in Scientific American in April 2010, that the brain can keep tabs on two tasks at once, even though we can’t actually do two tasks at once. I think this ability to keep tabs on two tasks at once is crucial to EAs being successful in their job. I liken it to sleeping with one eye open. You’ve always got your eye on things. Nothing escapes your attention. When all those balls you are juggling are up in the air, you’ve got your eye on them to make sure nothing gets dropped. This is a remarkable talent and one that I think is highly developed in the best EAs.

The world of the EA is one of constant interruptions, and if you
support more than one executive, that’s even more applicable to you. But that’s the nature of our job. We don’t have the luxury of
taking ourselves off to some quiet corner where we can focus on one thing at a time, as the experts are constantly advising executives to do. We have to operate in the thick of it all day and everyday, so we must get better and better at making our brains rapidly switch back and forth from task to task.

What will increase your effectiveness is your ability to focus. The ability to switch back to the task you were doing originally, and quickly get right back into the thick of it is key. Yes, science has proved you lose time when you multitask because your brain has to switch back into the mode you were in before the interruption. So, learn to make up for those precious lost seconds by recovering quickly and regaining your focus when you have to get back to the task you were working on. Improve your ability to focus quickly. The ability to focus and not give way to needless distractions is a skill
assistants must develop, especially in this day and age where smart phones are purposely designed to distract us by keeping us addicted to checking them constantly.

This is not a joke.  Some brave souls who work in the technology
arena are now speaking up about the way devices are programmed in order to addict us to our devices.  We need to be vigilant about this so our devices don’t rule our lives in a negative way, destroying our ability to focus and putting us into overload. I urge EAs to read the 60 Minutes piece on “Brain Hacking” where former Google product manager, Tristan Harris discusses how Silicon Valley
exploits neuroscience to keep us addicted to technology.  It is a real eye opener.

Multitasking, even as we understand it scientifically today, will
continue to be the lifeblood of exceptional executive assistants so I say to assistants, don’t stop multitasking, get really good at it.
Develop your ability to focus. It is a life-saving skill for assistants. Practice treating the project you need to focus on as an obsession – as if it is something you really want to do to the exclusion of all else. Once you master this skill, you won’t resent interruptions because your exceptional ability to focus will help you to quickly get back on track.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

_________________________________________________________________________

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 8

Photo Credits: http://money.usnews.com/

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1Part 7!

FlyPrivate: When interviewing for an EA position, how do you
determine how much you would be worth in the position and what salary is warranted based on the responsibilities of the job?

Jan Jones: If possible, ask other assistants who are in a similar
position if they would be willing to share an approximate number with you, or you could share a number you have in mind and ask if they would be satisfied with that salary for the job they are doing. Be subtle about it.  People aren’t going to tell you exactly what they are earning, but fellow EAs will probably be willing to give you some guidelines.  There are numerous resources online where you can do a search, but those salary ranges tend to be broad and they may just be a starting point.

The EA role varies considerably from position to position, so there is no one size fits all.  You should factor in your years of experience and your expertise in that particular role.  If you are a top-level EA who will be working long hours, be required to perform executive level duties and make executive level decisions, your salary requirements will be much higher than a mid-range assistant who does tasks as
assigned and isn’t required to make high-level decisions.  If you’ve got a track record established as having exceptional skills and
accomplishing executive level tasks without supervision, your salary expectations would be higher and warranted.  Do you have
supervisory or managerial experience that would be a bonus for the job? Do you have any degrees or diplomas that add to your value? Where are you located?  Salaries in big cities are typically higher than smaller towns, but there are exceptions, so do your homework.

Be flexible in your negotiations and consider what benefits are being offered which might offset lower salary compensation.  If you are being asked to accept a lower salary than you would like and you feel the position is worth it, ask for a review in 90 or 120 days at which time you would expect them to meet your salary requirements
because that would be sufficient time to demonstrate your worth.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

_________________________________________________________________________

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 7

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1Part 6!

FlyPrivate: Executive Assistants do what their boss asks, but
sometimes a situation arises where the assistant feels they can’t oblige because they are being asked to meet unrealistic deadlines, or the tasks are not clearly defined.  Some assistants have said that they say “no” to their boss, others say they may be inclined to “push back” on certain
requests that they consider unreasonable.  In these situations how would you advise assistants to respond to such requests?

Jan Jones: Being an executive assistant requires a lot of flexibility. Assistants are constantly being asked to shift priorities, or meet deadlines that crop up unexpectedly.  These things are part and
parcel of the assistant’s job.  If your boss is asking you to perform a task that relates to your job, or is part of your job description, then saying “no” or pushing back would not be the first option to consider without an extremely valid reason for doing so.

I understand that Millennials want more autonomy and control over work conditions, but saying “no” or pushing back on legitimate work requests is not somewhere you should make it a habit of expressing your individuality, because you could end up losing your job if you are perceived as uncooperative or insubordinate.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples where assistants might consider “pushing back”, and explore options that are more
productive than pushing back, or saying no.

Unreasonable Deadlines

Let’s say you’ve been given a huge amount of work that has to be completed by a specific deadline.  If you are unable or unsure of how to prioritize the work, ask your executive for guidance.  Explain that it is going to take a certain amount of time to do the tasks and you need to know which of the tasks is absolutely vital to get done to meet the deadline.

If you have an unreasonable executive who insists that all of it has to get done immediately and has equal priority, then tell the executive you are going to use your best judgment to determine which of the tasks has the highest priority. Quickly draft up the order of priority and ask your executive for input.  If you can’t get input, just get
started and do your best.  If they are not satisfied with the decisions you made, ask them how they would have prioritized so you will know in future and politely say that investing a little bit of time to guide you would have been helpful in getting the job done to their satisfaction.

EAs often ask me how to prioritize work when supporting several executives.  To do this effectively, at the outset you must establish a procedure for how you are going to prioritize everyone’s work.
Typically, the executive who is more senior gets a higher priority. If they are part of a team, likely they would know which project and which team member’s task should get priority in order to complete a project by deadline. If each one is saying their work is high priority, and if they are being unreasonable, if you are unable to determine by yourself which task should get the highest priority, then go to their boss and ask for guidance.  Politely make it clear you need help in
order to do the most effective job possible.  If speaking with their boss is not an option, then go to the executive who is typically the most reasonable of the bunch and ask for help.  Explain that you want to make everyone happy, but you simply can’t do all the tasks at the same time, so what do they suggest?

If no one is cooperating, respectfully ask them to work it out among themselves and get back to you as quickly as possible so you can move forward on the right track. That would be the most “push back” from an assistant that I would advise.

In the meantime, get started according to your understanding of which is the most important project.  Worst case, you will have to stop working on the task you selected as being important, and have to start something else.  But assistants are used to interruptions and switching quickly from one priority to another. Always behave
professionally, even if you want to wring their necks.

When things have calmed down, have another discussion with that team and reiterate that you want to do the best for them, but you must have their cooperation in sorting out how work is to be prioritized.

These are some reasons why it is important for the assistant to
understand the business they are in.  Having an understanding of the workings of the business lets the assistant make better judgments about which tasks are a priority.  When you understand the reason for why you are being asked to do something, there is less inclination to “push back” or say “no”, because you see the bigger picture of why something is necessary and needs to get done.  Then you pitch in enthusiastically.

When your executives see you taking an interest in knowing the business, they will start working collaboratively with you, rather than simply giving you instructions and asking you to carry them out. You may soon find that the unreasonable requests are diminishing, and your executives start to treat you with a new level of respect.

Last-Minute Emergencies

There are times when executives haven’t planned sufficiently and are asking you to do things at the last minute, which may involve staying late, or changing your personal plans.  If there is a day when you absolutely have to leave by a certain time, be proactive and give your team plenty of notice that you have to leave and will not be able to take on any last-minute jobs. Then there’s no question of pushing back because you’ve told them in plenty of time you will not be
available.  If your executive has a habit of giving you things at the last minute, discuss with them that you can’t always accommodate last-minute requests.  Ask what you can do to help the executive plan their day. Sometimes last minute requests are completely
unavoidable because things do crop up unexpectedly. Do your best to oblige without being resentful. You are better off with a
reputation for being cooperative than for pushing back or saying no.

Not Part of Your Job Description

So what? If you are being asked to do things that are not part of your job description, consider the nature of the request and who is
asking.  Always consider the bigger picture.  Even if it’s not in your job description, it could lead to something bigger and better for you.  Maybe it gives you a chance to work on a project that expands your sphere of influence.  It could give others in the company exposure to you.  Let them see you at your best and spread the word about how outstanding your work is and how cooperative you are.  How would that hurt you?

At one job I had, once in a while our CEO’s housekeeper was away and he’d bring his dog to work.  A few times during the day I would take the dog out for a quick walk.  Certainly not something in my job description, but as assistant to the CEO I knew the value of his time so I was happy to do that for him and he was grateful that he didn’t have to stop what he was doing to take the dog out. If you can be generous, be generous.  It makes everyone feel good and people
remember you for it.

Instead of being quick to “push back” or say “no”, find a way to get the job done even if it requires some sacrifice on your part. I’m not saying make yourself a martyr, but if you can accommodate
requests, do so.

Take a lesson from comedian, Tina Fey who said: “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” Why? “Because the fun is always on the other side of the ‘yes’.” Not just in your job, but in your life, stop
pushing back and start saying “yes”.  For EAs who are reading this, some day I’d love to hear your success stories about the miraculous journey on which that simple word “yes” has taken you.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

_________________________________________________________________________

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

 

Aviation Firm Sees Big Growth

don-in-boston-globe_jamie-cotten
Photo Credits: Jamie Cotten

By Paul E. Kandarian – Globe Correspondent – November 04, 2016

“Hingham-based Fly Private is a small private aviation firm that owns no aircraft but has access to 2,000 around the world. The
company was started by Don Smith, chief operating officer, and Greg Goodwin, vice president of marketing, both having previously worked for another private aviation firm before starting their own in 2002. We spoke to Smith, a Scituate resident, for this story.

Q. What makes Fly Private different from other firms like yours?

A. We don’t have acquisition fees or monthly maintenance fees, and we don’t ask for money up front. You pay only for what you use, by the trip, so you’re not tied up with long-term contracts or
commitments. We’re not wrapped up in hype; we don’t spend a
fortune on advertising. We’re not that well known, and that’s fine; we like to think we’re the best-kept secret in private aviation.

Q. Where do your clients fly?

A. All over the world, including a lot to the Caribbean. We had one family that started a trip in San Francisco, went through China, around Europe and back through the United States. We do trips for people going to college football games, the World Series, the Super Bowl, golf tournaments. Whatever the clients wants to do, we can do.

Q. Do most of your clients fly for business or personal reasons?

A. It’s about equal. From a customer standpoint, there are probably more personal fliers, but the dollar volume is higher for business travelers. And there’s crossover; some flying on business combine trips for personal use.

Q. Has growth been good?

A. We saw huge growth from 2002 to 2008, and by 2008 had a three-year growth of 197 percent, which got us 25th on Inc.’s top 100 transportation companies list. Business went down in the
recession, but then it came back and stayed. It’s grown steadily since.

Q. Do celebrities use your services?

A. Yes, and I won’t name them. For them, it’s just a way to get around, athletes flying home to be with their families, or flying the kids in to see games, things like that. Celebrity flying is Hollywood stuff that gets overblown. Ultra high-worth people aren’t looking for publicity; they just want a way to get to their events, and can get there
privately. They’re just nice people; this isn’t a big deal for them.

Read the full article from The Boston Globe.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 6

Two business colleagues reading a document

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series: Part 1Part 5!

How Did Your Experience as an EA Influence Your Career Growth Opportunities?

FlyPrivate: For 20 years you were an Executive Assistant for several high profile business professionals. You then started your own business. Is it an easy transition for EAs to start their own business?

Jan Jones: I wish I could tell you I had a plan and I could lay out the steps for everyone to follow, but that’s not how it happened.  My
final role as an executive assistant was working for Tony Robbins, the world-famous personal development icon. I actually didn’t have any plans to quit that job and start a business, but the opportunity to start a business came my way and I took it. When people found out I had left Tony, they started calling and asking me to work for them. I had some extremely lucrative offers but they would have required me to relocate, so I turned them down. Before long I was introduced to author Michael Gerber, the small business guru, and I was
privileged to serve as his exclusive representative for 10 years. So it was a natural progression that I found myself evolving into a
speakers bureau which sends business experts and celebrities to speak at events around the world.

Starting a business was something I fell into, much like my career as an executive assistant.  It was not my ambition to be an assistant when I was thinking about a career.  It evolved over time and I’m glad it did because the EA role has enabled me to earn a living in many parts of the world, as well as giving me a breadth of experience and access to high places that few other professions can provide. I urge EAs to truly grasp the extraordinary opportunities this profession can offer for long term career development.

The reason opportunities came to me is because I had a reputation for excellence – working with Robbins, working with Gerber, people who knew me in those roles sought me out.  So if there is a secret I can share with EAs it is be known as someone who is at the top of their game, because then people can’t help but notice you for all the right reasons.

I’ve said it repeatedly, much of the reason I’m successful in my
business is because every day I use the skills I learned as a high level executive assistant. I go to extreme lengths to produce results for my clients just as I did for my bosses. I don’t easily take no for an
answer and I follow up meticulously. Things don’t get dropped or
overlooked. I keep my commitments and people know they can rely on me to do what I say.  I gained a reputation for all these traits when I was an assistant.

I hope I’m not giving the impression that starting and succeeding in your own business is an easy transition from EA to business owner. The going hasn’t always been easy. You need an appetite for risk.  There are times when you will be flush and times when you will be skint. You need a good product, the ability to market yourself, find good projects, be a good negotiator. You must be able to cope with uncertainty and weather the highs and lows of business cycles and manage cash flow.  It takes much more than being a capable
administrator.  Another secret for EAs is establish networks and keep up the ones you have. Don’t burn bridges. Business is about
relationships.  Whether you remain an EA or start a business, foster relationships, grow your connections.  Get out of the virtual world and into the real world of real people. Develop your social skills and the art of conversation. Broaden your interests.

FlyPrivate: Do you feel your book, “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” is more for executives, or for their assistants, or perhaps both?

Jan JonesWell, I am an assistant at heart and I can say categorically that the reason I’m able to function successfully in my business is due to my background as a high level EA for so many years. But I’m also a business owner so I know what a business owner needs from an assistant, and I was able to marry the two in this book.  As an
assistant I was fortunate to be exposed to successful entrepreneurs, learning from them, absorbing their habits, learning calculated risk-taking, learning to trust my instincts, learning that everything that related to the business was my business. I had to know the
business inside and out if I was to represent my bosses seamlessly and make important decisions on their behalf. I never said ‘this is not my job’. I never said ‘no’ to my boss.  That would have been
unthinkable. Everything was always an opportunity to learn and showcase my boss in the best possible light.

When I started my business, I was disappointed to find many famous executives had poor quality assistants.  Obviously, these executives did not know what to look for in an assistant.  When they don’t know what to look for, odds are high they won’t know how to effectively utilize a top assistant either. My book evolved out of my desire to not only help executives to hire correctly and work effectively with their assistant, but also to help assistants learn what they need to do to step up their game.  These skills will be there for you if you
venture out on your own.

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

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