The Hot List

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did I lead you to believe there would be pictures from People Magazine of Halle Barry or Tom Cruise? No, this is so much more useful. It’s about one of the most important lists their assistants prepare for them in their homes and one of the most important aspects of doing your job right–being able to contact the people consistently in your employer’s life. You can prioritize them as those on the “hot list” vs those on the support list. This “hot list” consists of people in their industry who they are working with at that time, close family, close friends, employees and emergency vendors who are constants like the doctor, pharmacy, pool man, swim teacher, gardener, veterinarian, etc. This list is laminated and posted or in a drawer nearby the phones in the house and updated a three of four times a year.

I once had an employer explain to a new employee that it was very important for them to know the “players” in the entertainment industry so they are familiar with who they should “jump” for. It can be embarrassing for you and your employer if you don’t. For the motion picture executive, it would be important to know Steven Spielberg’s development executive’s name when they happen to call. Or the big venture capitalist who is financing your employer’s next big project. Do you see how it would be important to know the “players” in their life?

Along this line, you would want to keep a list of birthdays for the important people in your employers life: usually those who are close family, those your employer are working with on a project, and of course, close friends. Circulate a monthly birthday list in advance so you can have plenty of time to buy gifts and are clear on how personal the card should be and to know in advance the best method to deliver the gift. Once the month is completed, file this list to refer to for next year. Often, seeing what they chose to get them (flowers vs  $500 bottle of wine) helps you make suggestions the following year.  Keeping your lists in an organized fashion helps you so you won’t have to ask twice.  By year three on the job, you won’t have to ask at all. Progression: Year one you have to list the people with a blank next to the name; year two has suggestions based on the prior year; year three has the gift you sent next to the name “I sent — and a card from you.”

So much of the job as an assistant is reading between the lines and being able to assimilate the nuances around making you aware of who is and is not on your employer’s every changing radar. But having key contacts at hand (and on their cell phone) is one of the tools to be efficient/prepared for the both of you.

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