When it comes to goal setting for executive assistants (EAs), it can be hard to know where to begin. As an EA, you wear many different hats. Not only are you a seasoned assistant, but your role is ever-evolving. At times, you might also need to be HR, procurement, facilities, marketing, and so much more. With all of these different titles and responsibilities at the center of what you do, pinpointing your own goals can feel impossible to prioritize.
This doesn’t have to be the case! Finding the right executive assistant objectives is easy when you understand how to shift your focus to yourself and your own goals. Once you figure out what you need in order to advance in your life, it becomes much easier to apply this same exercise to your career as an EA. Keep reading to learn more about goal setting and how this simple practice can help move your career forward.
Defining OKRs & Smart Goals for Executive Assistants
Goal setting is a powerful process that helps you think about your future and where you want to go in life. To begin setting goals as an executive assistant, OKRs, or “objective and key results,” should be considered. An OKR is a goal-setting framework used to define and track objectives and outcomes. It is a simple tool many organizations use to engage employees around measurable goals. This way, everyone can intentionally work towards what truly matters for your organization while also focusing on their individual needs. When you can align your objectives to match up with those of the company and the leader(s) you support, you set yourself up to deliver unending value as an EA.
So, you’ve made a goal sheet for executive assistants—now what? Well, to reach your goals as an EA, you’ll need a well-thought-out action plan. You can use the SMART goal method to ensure you have a clear plan that brings structure and trackability to your objectives. The SMART acronym is broken down below and should align with your executive assistant OKRs:
What Are Some Goals for An Executive Assistant?
Think through what types of tasks you and your executive do on the day-to-day. Are there any skills you would be interested in learning that will benefit your projects? Try to imagine what activities could add value to both your role and your organization as a whole. Goal setting for executive assistants can be easier to imagine when you consider shifting the lens a bit. Here are some outcome-based executive assistants OKRs to get you thinking about your personal career goals:
- Take an Excel course by the end of the first quarter to make those weekly reports more efficient.
- If you find you are consistently working on invitations and publications, make a plan to learn Photoshop or Illustrator by the end of the year. Canva is also a great tool!
- Get your PMP certification to demonstrate more competence and set yourself up for higher pay in the future. Additionally, our Base Tasks feature is specifically catered towards the assistant workflow.
- Take time each quarter to maintain advanced knowledge on emerging tools and resources, like Slack, for example. (Start video at 1:01:16.)
- Come up with new team-building ideas (one per quarter) to help maintain morale and wellbeing.
- Read 4 business management books and share new knowledge with your team at the beginning of next quarter. Here are some recommendations:
How to Set Goals With Your Executive
Executive assistant objectives should always be discussed with your executive. The most effective EAs are those who really understand what their executives are trying to accomplish. Take the initiative and schedule a meeting. Then, show up with a list of performance goals for executive assistants and develop a planning process you two can work through together. Coming prepared and providing a few executive assistant OKR examples will highlight your value as an EA and let your executive in on your personal objectives.
Together, you and your executive will want to approach goal setting with the SMART acronym at the forefront of your minds. Use the following five-step process to engage your executive in a big-picture discussion, and plan what you can do together to ensure you are working in the right direction:
- Mission: Define your team’s big goal for the quarter. This can be overarching, or it can be time-based (quarterly, yearly, etc.) A great start here is cascading down from your executive’s goals/OKRs.
- Strategies: What strategies will you use to achieve this mission?
- Activities: What activities will you perform to drive those strategies? You should have at least one activity to match each strategy you’ve listed.
- Obstacles/Risks: What obstacles will stand in your way? How will you overcome them.
- Measurements: How will you know you were successful?
Leveraging Base, assistants can report on progress to goal. This can be done by creating a custom Digest template based on your and your executive’s goals and workflow. Learn more here.
How to Set Goals With Your Executive
Goal setting for executive assistants is important because it gives you a map for your journey — a direction to go. It will not only give you purpose as an EA, but it will also help you understand what actions to take and what decisions to make in your career. Having goals and knowing where you want to go will make setting executive assistant objectives a breeze.
As an EA, you dedicate your career to serving others, getting work done, and improving the lives of those you support. When you are setting executive assistant objectives for your career, think about giving yourself what you give to others. What will advance your life both professionally and personally? Whatever the answer is, make sure you chase it.