The top 10 reasons you should consider hiring a Virtual PA in 2021

The top 10 reasons you should consider hiring a Virtual PA in 2021

We all hate having to do our business ‘housekeeping’ chores; whether it’s organising your filing, sorting out your business cards, typing up letters or just simply getting your tax return done… the list is endless. So how can a virtual PA help you become more effective, more efficiently?

Any why is it more important to consider hiring a virtual PA in 2021 than in previous years? 

 

Top Ten Reasons to use a Designated Virtual PA 

 

  1. Got a big presentation to do? Let the professionals take charge!

With minimal supervision, we can turn around a document in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or even Canva and turn it from a jumble of numbers and words into a coherent work of art, fit for any boardroom. As businesses more from kitchen table to a more corporate environment, it’s more important than every before to keep teams engaged. No death by PowerPoint over here thank you!

 

  1. Flummoxed by figures, or simply no time to file that tax return?

Why not get us to take a look at the books and help you get back on track, whilst you concentrate on making the big bucks. Though many of us have been busier than ever working from home, we were used to being distraction free. As we move back into the office those small pesky tasks you forgot about will creep back in and can swallow your time. 

 

  1. Give us an inch and we’ll go the extra mile 

We are never happier than when we have a new project to get our teeth into; whether it’s investigating new business opportunities, or following up existing leads, we like to help you make a difference. We know that some of the most important business research can fall to the bottom of the list, especially when you’re playing catch up in 2021. Let us cover this area for you and stay on top of what your competitors are doing whilst you focus on the day to day running of your business. 

 

  1. Lost for words?

As a team of experienced professionals, we are well-versed in the art of creating compelling copy and putting together savvy sales pitches. 

Writing copy is time-consuming, especially when post-pandemic, we need to be more aware and sensitive than ever to our customers, clients and colleagues work/personal situations. 

 

  1. We do it, so you don’t have to! 

Don’t have time to enter all those potentially lucrative prospects into your system? All we need is a list and we can upload, annotate and amend to your heart’s content. 

 

  1. All dressed up and nowhere to go?

Networking can be a time-consuming activity, but just one well-connected contact can pay dividends. We can help advise on which groups are suitable and research any hidden costs or lucrative opportunities that you hadn’t considered. 

 

  1. Let us organise your life, leaving you free to concentrate on what makes your business tick.

We can coordinate meetings, arrange travel, type up minutes, compile documents, respond to email on your behalf and even contact previous clients for their feedback on your product or service. 

Particuarly this year when there are so many rules and regulations which are ever-changing and differ depending on where you would like to go. Our PA’s are in touch with highly experienced travel professionals who can ensure both business and pleasure trips are fully managed. 

 

  1. Raise your game and we’ll up your ante! 

We can search for, and post, relevant, interesting, compelling content onto your social network profile pages, with the click of a mouse and the tap of the keyboard. We can also help you optimise your pages, reach out to your contacts and keep your pages fresh and relevant – leaving you free to go and do the networking you were born to do! 

 

  1. Take the chaos out of conferences

Use us to project manage your corporate events. We get to grips with the gritty details, ensuring no glass is left unfilled. Whether you need client hospitality, private banquets, or large scale exhibitions organised, we are there to calmly communicate and coordinate with your clients and suppliers. 

 

  1. Ever get that sinking feeling?

The superpowers of a good PA are often overlooked; whether it be the ability to efficiently manage calls, whilst juggling emails and monitoring a jam-packed diary, or tracking down lost and forgotten receipts. Being able to depend upon a reliable set of hands, eyes and ears can be the difference between staying on top, or getting mired in an administrative nightmare. Never is that more apparent when you are in desperate need and don’t know where to turn. Enter, Designated! We are often able to put you in touch with fellow super-powered assistants, potentially looking for a step up, down or change in direction. We can also vet CVs, write up job adverts or simply field responses until you have time to start interviewing. 

 

So, if you are looking for your next PA or just know you need help but can’t justify the cost of hiring someone on a full-time basis, perhaps going ‘virtual’ is the best way forward – after all, you’ve only got time to lose. Get in touch and chat to us about how we can help. 

 

June Edition of Designated Digest

June Edition of Designated Digest

As we step into June we have lots to look forward to, not least Coronavirus restrictions being relaxed as of the 21st. Though we must all be responsible and keep our health at the forefront of our minds, it is exciting to start planning our next chapters, both personal and professional.

Over the past 12 months, we have had to socially distance ourselves from our teams, but in a lot of ways, it has forged tighter bonds allowing teamwork and productivity to flourish.

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Creating High-Performing Teams

Creating High-Performing Teams

As leaders, we want to lead high performing teams and as team members, we want to be working as part of them. Working in a great team is an absolute pleasure and has an enormous impact on how we feel about our work and the company we are employed by. Of course, the opposite is also true and working in a dysfunctional team is deeply negative and has a huge impact on performance and can be enough to encourage individuals to leave and pursue other options.  

So how do we establish a great team, how do we lead one and how do we play our part in contributing to the success of the team?  

Let’s start by exploring some examples of great teams and a good place to start is in the sporting world. Anybody who is loyal to a particular team or club will know all too well the highs and lows associated with team performance. When a team is failing quite often the manger gets put under enormous pressure and the result is often a swift departure. 

If we take the Six Nations championship as an example, each team that takes part has been analysed by professionals, the media and all of us at home watching. Each team has its own characteristics with Wales being admired for their grit and determination whilst England heavily criticised for a lack of discipline. Back in 2003 when the England rugby team won the world cup the team was led by Sir Clive Woodward who helpfully shares his winning strategy. Woodward says that “great teams are made up of great individuals” and he focuses on creating a winning culture and claims a formula for creating “champion individuals”. Woodward lists 4 key criteria to create a winning team:- 

Talent – individual talent 

Teachability – “It’s often the most experienced person who is unteachable” 

Pressure – the warrior spirit 

Will – commitment to win.  

In his 2003 team Woodward describes having 5 champions and 10 warriors and he highlights the importance of coaching on two levels, for individuals and for the team together.   

Woodward’s approach was clearly successful, and he continues to support sporting organisations but also offers coaching and consultancy to business executives.  

Another team strategy brought to our attention is the “aggregation of marginal or incremental gains”. The strategy works on the premise that if we can improve every aspect of a team’s performance by 1% the overall result will be a significant improvement. This approach was highly publicised following the success of the British cycling team in 2008 and 2012 and whilst the achievements of the British cycling team are being questioned, the strategy is still very popular in the business environment.  

One of our favourite sporting strategies that has been embraced by business is described in the book “Does it make the boat go faster” as described by Ben Hunt-Davis in which he documents how his team adopted this strategy and subsequently won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. I like this as it is simple and can be used to immediately ensure everyone on the team is on the same page. In business we might use this strategy to achieve a project within tight timescales or to focus on a particular aspect of our service for example, “does it make the patient experience better?” or “does it make the treatment safer”. It’s a great way to ensure focus and gain momentum to achieve short and medium-term goals.  

These examples of sporting successes in team performance provide plenty of interesting learning opportunities that can be adapted for business, and we may pick up ideas from numerous sources as we create our own leadership and team management strategies. Each of us can use best practice to influence our leadership style but ultimately our approach will be unique to us and our personalities. As we build our own style it is important to break down the aspects of teamwork and ensure we consider each aspect to build a good all-encompassing approach.  

Reflecting back to the wise words of Sir Clive Woodward we can consider the 4 elements of team success that he bases his approach on. 

Talent 

To create the greatest team, we want to have the greatest leader and the most talented individuals, and this might be realistic for a premiership football club but most of us are restrained by factors such as money, availability of talent, geography etc. In the real world what we really need to aim for is the most talented individuals available to us and ensuing that each individual deliver to the best of their ability.   

A team also requires a group of people with differing but complimentary talents. All of these individuals must find a way to work together to the benefit of the business and customer As well as having differing skills, a team will also be home to lots of different personality types and character types. Some people are eternal optimists, always anticipating the best possible outcome and seem oblivious to any potential barriers. Others will be the complete opposite preferring to plan for the worst-case scenario so that all bases are covered and prepared for. When two people of opposite types such as these come together, they can either create a perfectly balanced partnership or they can find it impossible to work together and hit a brick wall. Another potential conflict can arise when one person is an ideas person, and another is a detailed planner. The detailed plan that is essential to one person can be viewed as a barrier to progress and a time-wasting activity to the person who has the great idea and wants to get on with delivering it. Again, a balance of these two styles is ideal but how do we bring different personalities such as these together to work collaboratively.  

In last month’s article we talked about leaders needing to develop self-awareness and understanding their natural style. We suggested using psychometric profiling tools such as Myers Briggs and C-me profiling and again these tools are equally relevant to individuals working together as a team.  

Once an individual understands their own style and also the natural style of others on their team, they can learn the right way to communicate and work with one another to achieve success.  

The “ideas person” learns that by listening to the detailed oriented individual, their idea has a far greater chance of success as a result of the detailed plan that will be developed ensuring that every outcome is prepared for.  

Teachability  

An ability and willingness to learn is an important attribute for all team members. Too often we associate this with more junior team members but actually it is relevant to even the most senior members of a team and Woodward is quite right when he states, “It’s often the most experienced person who is unteachable”. To work well as a team, every individual needs to be prepared to adapt their ways of working for the good of the team. The well-known management phrase “It’s my way or the highway” might feel powerful but what if there is a better way? 

Pressure  

When Woodward says pressure, what he really means is the ability to perform under pressure and he believes the only way to ensure an individual and therefore the team is able to succeed under pressure is to practice by exposing the team to pressure regularly. He uses role play requiring the team to work through every eventuality to ensure they know exactly what to do in each situation.  

We would also argue that all teams must think about how to recover from being under pressure and build resilience. It is clearly not possible for any individual or team to perform under constant pressure and we need to build in mechanisms for recognising long periods of extreme pressure and have plans in place to relieve the pressure and allow recovery to take place. This may involve adjusting holiday allowance, time off in lieu or activities within the working day to allow for recuperation but they must be built in.  

Will  

A team needs to be driven by an agreed goal or objective and to share a joint motivation to succeed and achieve the goal. This is why the strategy of “Does it make the boat go faster” is so effective as it aligns the whole team to one clear, simple goal. A team that has one or more members who doubt the goal is achievable will have a draining impact on the team’s morale and will reduce each person’s motivation to succeed.  

It is said that “Teamwork makes the dream work” and we all agree wholeheartedly, but achieving the dream requires an investment of effort on a consistent basis. The most talented individuals might be individually amazing but unless they can work together as a team their talents can be wasted. The coming together of individuals with differing skill sets and personalities, working together effectively create an approach that brings balance that one individual could not achieve working alone is the ultimate goal. And most importantly, humans are tribal and evolved working together in teams, intrinsically knowing it makes us more effective and ultimately life more enjoyable.  

Guide to Working Smarter not Harder!

Guide to Working Smarter not Harder!

Guide to WORKING SMARTER NOT HARDER….

Ever found yourself with a million things to do and no idea where to start?  Or perhaps you just keep putting off that big black deadline that’s hovering over you? Either way, getting your work space and you task list organised is a sure fire way to help get your head space back on track.  Our guide to helping you towards working smarter not harder will help.

Read on for our free, stress-busting survival guide…

1. Make Lists

Yes, you’ve heard it before, but it works!  It’s simple, the smartest way to unload your over-worked brain is to get it all out on paper (or for those that prefer something a little more high tech, a Smartphone, tablet, or whatever you’re most comfortable with).  Put down everything – every, little, thing.

There are a loads of apps that can help too!

  • Paperless
  • Wunderlist
  • Todoist
  • Trello
  • Toodledo

2. Now prioritise

Put a number, an asterisk, re-sort or highlight.  Get that list working for you.  Concentrate on the big stuff – the things you know are going to take the longest time.  Put them near the top, somewhere you can’t ignore them.  The sense of achievement when you manage to cross those bad boys off will be immense.  And then you can reward yourself with a few ‘little’ tasks to help break up the intensity.

3. Watch the clock

Your list is ready, your priorities are set, and it’s time to get down to business!  Set yourself a realistic deadline for each item.  Start by breaking things down by hours, half hours, quarter hours or even ten minute slots.  Make an appointment to meet friends, go out for lunch or get a haircut, and then organise your tasks around it, accordingly – it’s amazing what you can achieve when you have a ‘reward’ in sight.

4. BITE size, not supersize.

If you have a seemingly insurmountable task ahead of you, break it down into smaller chunks.  As you start to simplify the job into separate elements, you will be able to concentrate on getting it done, piece by piece.

5. DON’T procrastinate – delegate! 

Use reminders to flag up deadlines, set up rules on your email so that you can see when important emails need to be responded to.  Set your phone to vibrate and let voicemail take a message.  This way you can turn your full attention to the job in hand, without any distractions.

6. CALL in the professionals?

If you are still struggling to stay on top, and feel like you are slowly sinking under a pile of admin, then perhaps what you need is a bit of professional help – of the administrative kind!

Do you need someone to cast an objective eye over your accounts, or a willing soul to get help you get through your filing?  Maybe all you need is for someone to manage your travel and diary arrangements, whilst you concentrate on writing that report.

Whatever it may be, help is at hand.  Designated is a one-stop-shop created with you specifically in mind.  We are here to enable you to hand off tasks and concentrate on your core business.

With us by your side, you will find you are able to focus on productivity, deliver greater results and generally be free to be the high-flying executive you are meant to be.  Alternatively, you might find that you have a few less grey hairs and a lot less to worry about.

7. Get working smarter not harder

Speak to us about how we can help bring time saving and cost effective professional support into your business.  With Designated – where you’re in safe hands.  Call 0207 952 1460 or email us info@designatedgroup.com.

April Edition of Designated Digest

April Edition of Designated Digest

We hope you are all starting to feel the joys of Spring. With the clocks springing forward yesterday and the promise of longer, warmer days we are feeling increasingly positive about the coming days and weeks. In this month’s edition the client spotlight is on Dinaqor, we also look at why honesty is so important in business and much more….

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