Why Executive Assistants Need To Adopt A Slinky Mindset

My EA Career blog post by Liz Van Vliet

The slinky is the perfect metaphor for the way I encourage Executive Assistants that I train, coach and mentor to adapt and adjust to the impacts of Coronavirus.

Let me tell you why.

The slinky was the accidental innovation of US inventor Richard T. James who was working on a means to suspend sensitive ship-board instruments in 1943. 

“James accidentally knocked a sample spring from a shelf, and watched as it “stepped” from a stack of books, to a tabletop, to the floor, where it re-coiled and stood upright.”

Cue the lightbulb moment. The slinky toy, with the capacity to stretch and re-form itself was born and has gone on to sell over 300 million.

The Power Skills Executive Assistants Need To Demonstrate During Covid-19

Adopting a Slinky Mindset showcases four key Power Skills:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Flexibility
  3. Creativity
  4. Resilience

The Executive Assistants who I coach, mentor  and train are showing up with a Slinky Mindset by:

  • Being intentional about the frequency and choice of channel in their communication with their business leader and stakeholders
  • Recognise that delivering outcomes is more important than simply amassing outputs
  • Employing Emotional Intelligence and Mental Strength to build and maintain trust Recognise that they can lead from where they are and this begins with self leadership

To do that they need to feel empowered and supported and have the skill and capability to manage up, down and cross the organisation to achieve outcomes.

They need to be confident about their ability to assert and advocate for the needs of their business leader and their key stakeholders.

I feel privileged to support them in developing the skills to do this.

Bouncing Forward Versus Bouncing Back

A Slinky Mindset is also about bouncing forward. Right now we exist in the definition of a VUCA world. Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Bouncing forward in this environment takes courage and grit.

A Google search for ‘bounce back from Coronavirus impact’ returns 84,400,000 results whereas ‘bounce forward from Coronavirus impact’ returns 14,400,000. A simple illustration of how people see the world. There is empowerment in being a bounce forward sort of person. 

Bouncing forward takes resilience. 

Bouncing forward takes creativity.

I have my own experience of needing to adopt a Slinky Mindset even though I didn’t identify it as such at the time when I was recovering from Breast Cancer treatment. It’s given me perspective that is helping me navigate my own challenges during this period. 

What are the other qualities you feel demonstrate a Slinky Mindset? 

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Liz Van Vliet

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Liz Van Vliet, The Linchpin Assistant

Meet Liz

I work with Executive Assistants and Administrative Assistants to deliver the confidence, consistency and career development that transforms them into thriving Linchpin Assistants. 

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