Awesome Assistants

A potential role description of Personal Assistants within a company or organisation.

Purpose

Our purpose is to give those who we serve:

Carefree management

Keep us sharp

Please let us know if we ever fail to meet the minimum standards so we can improve on our responsibilities.

Proactively:

  1. We schedule all your meetings—You can rest assured people have time to attend and be on time, leave on time.
  2. We secure sufficient slack in your calendars and avoid head-tail appointments, leave from for preparation or evaluation of meetings.
  3. We make your trips a breeze—both domestic and international. You will enjoy all your trips, because meetings will be properly scheduled, hotels will be booked. tickets will be ready timely, plus, you will have ample space to prepare for and recover from busy travel.
  4. We organise your events you well happily remember and provide you with good memories—we’ll make sure you will meet the right people at the right time, the right people will attend and the venues arranged; we’ll take care of badges, routing, hotels, catering, venues, what have you.
  5. We run your webcasts so you can focus on its content; we’ll make sure the right time is picked for all required participants.
  6. We organise your town halls, the venue, time, catering, and attendees.
  7. We conduct your events—venue, time, catering, and attendees. You take care of the agenda, invitation, invitees and contents; we’ll do the rest.
  8. We onboard people to make them feel at home.
  9. We chase and nag you until we have all the essential information to be able to meet and exceed our responsibilities.
  10. We collect, absorb, distill, refine, and share essential information for our job so that everyone is always up to date, understands and agrees.
  11. We maintain a coherent and consistent shared storage and documentation  for our whole department.
  12. We work as one team, securing our availability on working days from 07:00 until 18:00. Even when we’re not at our desk; we’ll make sure you can always reach us. We’ll cover for each other when needed.
  13. We turn problems into opportunities in order to improve our way of working as a habit.

Domains

  • All secretarial activities within our department.

Policies

  • We garden and live by our always up to date Excellence Guide, detailing our way of work and responsibilities and which has consent of our managers and those who we serve.
  • We work as one team while having a dedicated personal focus.
  • We review and improve our way of working on an ongoing basis with a more in-depth and thorough review and improvement every six weeks (8 times per year).

Continuous Development

The Agile & Lean world often focuses on coaching and leading continuous transformation. Some people always feel somewhat uncomfortable with words like transformation and change, as they often imply people and organisations compelled, coerced even, to change and transform.

How about moving towards coaching and leading continuous development?

The Ancient Greek philosophers identified four aspects of development, each of which is separately necessary but all of which, taken together, are sufficient for continuous development:

  1. truth,
  2. plenty,
  3. the good, and
  4. beauty/fun (aesthetics).

Plus, development is of greater concern to a transformational leader than growth (or change, or transformation).

Development:

  • is an increase in competence and value;
  • occurs beyond the norm (rather than blending to the norm);
  • focuses on people (rather than on technique and content);
  • tests courage (rather than patience);
  • focuses on the future (rather than the present);
  • urges to maximize potential (rather than standardise);
  • has a transformational (rather than transactional character);
  • focuses on evolution (rather than maintenance);
  • educates (rather than indoctrinates);
  • catalyses innovation (rather than maintaining status quo);
  • encourages performance (rather than compliance);
  • frees people from their boxes (rather than placing people into boxes);
  • engages intellectual and spiritual potentials (rather than mechanical potential);
  • fosters emotional energy (rather than only rational energy);
  • explores unknowns (rather than reiterates knowns);
  • pushes your envelope (rather than keeping you in your comfort zone);
  • is infinite (rather than finite).

RAMPS

RAMPS—Rhythm, Autonomy, Master, Purpose, Safety cheatsheet.

Click here or on image above ↑ for PDF.

Michael D. Hill introduces RAMPS as a motivation model: Rhythm, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, Safety. Michael even goes deep on Mastery as Motivator: The M of RAMPS. Next, Ron Jeffries sings harmony on RAMPS.

With kudos to Michael for writing this up, allow me to join the choral by capturing RAMP’s essence on a single sheet.

BTW, The original Daniel Pink’s Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us is about AMP, which I associate with AMPlifier.

 

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix

Use a visual tool to drive the right conversations on the right topic on the right time, and capture your vision, strategytactics, and evidence on a single A3, also known as the hoshin kanri x-matrix, in order to:

  • involve everyone in its cocreation;
  • make sure you are doing the right things;
  • align all stakeholders to create a laser focus on vital breakthrough aspirations;
  • focus all energy on a few crucial goals;
  • integrate daily management and operations with strategy;
  • provide structured and fast feedback to check progress;
  • stay on track and adjust course if needed.

A new design of the traditional hoshin kanri x-matrix aims to make it easier to read and maintain. Rather than having upside-down and vertical tekst, the new design only uses horizontal text.

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix for Tesla
Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix example for Tesla (redesign of the 2010 version by Martien van Steenbergen; click to obtain PDF version).

A hoshin kanri x-matrix is:

  • holistic—covers all aspects and stakeholders of your enterprise;
  • fact- and evidence-based—crystal clear OKRs help drivers and leaders make timely and right decisions;
  • complete—plans are ready to execute when it is clear what you want to achieve and how you will approach it;
  • inclusive—involves everyone in the interactive cocreative process of catchball;
  • integrated—is integrated on all levels of your organisations, including incentive systems.

Hoshin (方針) means “compass (管理), or pointing the direction,” and Kanri means “management or control”. Combined, these two words show that hoshin kanri is essentially the process for Strategic Direction Setting.

Take a deep dive at hoshin kanri.

Flow vs Dual Track Development

Really love and fully agree with the gist of Jeff Patton’s Dual Track Development as well as Desirée Sy’s Adapting Usability Investigations for Agile User-centered Design. Throughout, there are different foci and kinds of work that are needed to evolve great outcomes. Yet, I don’t experience it as a dual track. Also, a dual track seems to split a joint effort into two groups or camps, with the danger of growing into silos and friction.

My image of this important work is much more flow minded. So, more upstream you will find people whose metier it is to continuously and fast discover, create, validate, learn about, and kill lots of ideas, promoting just a few that get fleshed out until they are ready to build by people whose metier it is to develop those ideas into an ever lasting stream of shippable revisions.

Everyone working in or on this flow aim to keep it flowing—No Business Like Flow Business™. Everyone is involved in and accountable for the flow as a whole, yet you spend most of your time in the area of your metier.

Plus, you will need a some people who focus on the big picture and optimise the wholeThe Flow Must Go On™.

Also, in flow there are no cycles, yet there is a rhythm:

Drums is the way to start music. To me, rhythm is right up the center of music, and if you start with the drums and get that right, then all the other stuff that requires brain and hard work has a place to go and it all fits much better.

—Peter Gabriel

Tipping Point Leadership

tipping-point-leadership
It is never easy to execute a strategic shift, and doing it fast with limited resources is even more difficult. Yet our research suggests that it can be achieved by leveraging tipping point leadership. By consciously addressing the hurdles to strategy execution and focusing on factors of disproportionate influence, you too can knock them over to actualize a strategic shift.
…building a culture of trust, commitment, and voluntary cooperation in its execution, as well as support for the leader…
Focus on three factors of disproportionate influence in motivating employees, what we call kingpinsfishbowl management, and atomization.
  • Zoom in on Kingpins—concentrate your efforts on kingpins, the key influencers in the organization; natural leaders, who are well respected and persuasive, or who have an ability to unlock or block access to key resources;
  • Place Kingpins in a Fishbowl to greatly raise the stakes of inaction—shine a spotlight on their actions in a repeated and highly visible way. Light is shined on who is lagging behind, and a fair stage is set for rapid change agents to shine. For fishbowl management to work it must be based on transparency, inclusion, and fair process.
  • Atomize to Get the Organization to Change Itself—Atomization relates to the framing of the strategic challenge. Unless people believe that the strategic challenge is attainable, the change is not likely to succeed. Break it into bite-size atoms that officers at different levels can relate to. Atomize the issue to make it actionable to all levels.

To overcome political forces, tipping point leaders focus on three disproportionate influence factors: leveraging angelssilencing devils, and getting a consigliere on their top management team. Angels are those who have the most to gain from the strategic shift (Who will naturally align with me?). Devils are those who have the most to lose from it (Who will fight me?). And a consigliere is a politically adept but highly respected insider who knows in advance all the land mines, including who will fight you and who will support you.

How can you motivate the mass of employees fast and at low cost?

Source: Blue Ocean Strategy.

Surprises ahead

Many, if not all, public companies start their quarterly updates and other sensitive sessions with a disclaimer concerning forward-looking statements that read like this:

Certain statements in this session, such as those about future products, services and features, are “forward-looking statements” that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations. As a result of certain risks and uncertainties,  actual results may differ materially from those projected.

Consider closing every planning session with this disclaimer.

It also includes a last sentence that often reads:

Our team disclaims any obligation to update this information.

In the agile world, you may consider to reverse this into:

Our team obligates itself to update this information [in order to allow you to change your plans timely and accordingly].

Also known as a [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward-looking_statement safe harbor statement].

Life is a broccoli

Everything in life is a broccoli. Take a broccoli, and snap off a piece. The piece of broccoli is a broccoli in itself. Take that piece, and snap off yet another piece. Again, that piece is a broccoli in itself.

In short, broccoli is self-similar. It is fractal. It is a holacracy.

You will find broccolis all over the place.

A portfolio is comprised of products. A product or a system consists of essential parts. Each part consists of subparts, and so on.

An organization consists of units, divisions, departments, groups, teams, squads, individuals. All broccolis within broccolis.

An initiative consists of programs, programs, in turn, consist of projects, projects have milestones, milestones take a couple of sprints to complete, sprints take one or two weeks.