With all the Hollywood blockbusters about robots taking over the world in a ro-pocalypse, it’s hard not to let the thoughts slip into our minds about the possibility of evolving technology replacing the jobs that us humble humans currently work to earn our livelihood. But that worry is vastly unfounded.
Just as the role of the CEO is often misunderstood, the role of the CEO’s “right arm” – their executive assistant – is similarly misunderstood. The misunderstanding is so common that it is an easy target for predictions that the EA position might soon become obsolete. If only those spreading these creative rumours understood that there exists a category of assistants who are resourceful go-getters, facilitating the pace and standard for high performance in their organizations. Without these assistants to help carry the load, high-powered CEOs would be buried in minutiae that would distract them from overseeing the strategic direction and performance of their organizations. Once the value in your role as an Executive Assistant is realized, then you have the opportunity to remain vital by always evolving and leveling up your skills.
High-functioning, exceptional Executive Assistants who consistently turn in remarkable performance, make their Executives look good, mirror their executive’s values, are service oriented and have a reputation for getting things done, are in little-to-no danger of being replaced by automation anytime soon. A more likely scenario is that Executive Assistants will be utilizing AI to increase their own productivity, making the EAs look good.
While it is true that AI is evolving and may cause disruptions in smaller, more automated tasks, this will open the door for Executive Assistants to take on a more creative and customized approach to their roles and relationships with their Executives. If there is something that AI cannot do, it is to make last minute personalized adjustments based on the prior relationship with the Executive. This could be something as small yet significant as understanding a look or expression across the room, or just being able to anticipate an Executive’s decisions based on their mood on a particular day. The human aspect of an Executive Assistant will always be valuable, what we need to realize is that so is their ability to embrace and utilize the new technology.
Still worrying about whether your role is in danger of being displaced in your organization? Take the head on approach with your Executive and have a conversation that discusses:
- What are the higher value skills you need to develop or enhance in order to fulfill your company’s business objectives and keep your job from being fully automated?
- What skills should you develop for the future? What problems will those skills solve? How will they help you differentiate yourself?
- Identify for your Executive what resources you both may require to become AI-ready and thrive in an AI workplace. Show them you are willing to learn new skills and take on new challenges.
- Discuss the benefits to your Executive of increasing your skills, particularly your critical and strategic thinking skills, communication, project management and leadership skills, to give yourself an advantage over AI.