Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Okay, at the risk of sounding like my father, I hope you sincerely heed this warning—don’t reinvent the wheel. So many personal assistants are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want everyone to be aware they don’t know something, after all, our employers come to us for solutions. But it is so much better to let them know, “I don’t know but I will find out and get back to you asap,” than to pretend or worst yet, to lie. You will paint yourself into a corner and lose credibility doing either. People respect that you can “man up” to not knowing and that you are resourceful enough to find out. Say this with me, “I can’t know everything but I know how to find out.”

This is where your contacts, friends, co-workers and vendors serve as valuable support. After all, it is rare that you are encountering a situation that hasn’t been dealt with before. Don’t start from scratch. There are ways to get the information and remain confidential.

For example, a client of mine was going to be shooting a movie out of town and we were trying to keep the location as confidential as possible of where the family would be living and there was a lot of buzz about it already in the press. But I really needed to find out where to source items for the home in this area before arriving. Rather than hunker down on the computer and research blindly, here are just some of my options that I used:

  1. Asked other assistants who traveled to this area who understood confidentiality
  2. Asked the scouts in the production office for help
  3. Called the concierge at a high-end hotel in the area (or the nicest hotel in the area) and asked for references for the items I needed. They are used to like clientele and understand the level of quality I was looking for.
  4. Called the Chamber of Commerce in that area and got more information to see if it is consistent with other recommendations

Any of these options did not expose my client or situation and saved me the hours of research and gave me the confidence I needed to give my clients the information  they needed.

And as always, my rule is if you get the same information/recommendation from two or more trusted resources, that is usually your answer.

Enjoy the hunt!




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