Process Is the Source Code for Productivity

Updated: 02 Feb, 2016 | Dan O'Brien

A lot of our members at Prialto come to us because they are stuck; they have an idea for a first step to offload some data entry and simple (yet time-consuming) tasks. But, more fundamentally, they are looking for process architecture to clear the hurdles that have kept them from reaching their goals.

Vision without execution is hallucination. Most of us have great ideas, but few of us devote the time to act on them. One day leads to another, and if we’re not careful, opportunities disappear over time—lost to inaction. Our digital lives are inundated with the latest productivity fads that reek of over-simplicity and a lack of authenticity that borders on unhelpful.

Here is a small sample list from the hundreds of tactical activities—including corporate travel management, personal task management, and business expense management—we take on to help drive larger strategic goals:

Contact centralization: Many executives pride themselves on their “rolodex,” even though their contacts are, in fact, stored in a myriad of ways that prevent them from being easily accessed. Prialto engagements often begin by placing a member's contacts in one central place in the cloud. We like to do this in through a CRM solution so that the contacts can then be infused into key business development activities. We come with a vast knowledge base that includes Salesforce, SalesforceIQ/RelateIQ, Infusionsoft, Contactually, and others so that we can help you organize and support key objectives.

Contact management: Once organized, contacts can be categorized by how frequently they should be contacted. Only those contacts who remember you will be capable of referring you to relevant opportunities. Each contact should be tagged by personal and professional business interests. With this information cataloged well, your virtual executive assistant can do the research and provide you with the excuse to remind each contact of who you are.

Travel support: There is little value today in an assistant simply creating a travel itinerary. Every executive can do this autonomously via their smartphone. But a good assistant will go further with your business travel management and create a list of contacts for you to meet in between meetings or while waiting for a flight to a faraway city. A great assistant will go further by booking a few of those contacts so that your travel time is optimized and you return home with more opportunities.

Scheduling: There are numerous automatic scheduling assistant programs on the market today. If used well, they can eliminate mistakes and save time; they can also be blunt instruments. Used on their own, they can be insulting to the people you are trying to connect with. Even worse, they fail to be strategic about how and when to meet, and how to interact with key contacts. For us, scheduling is about eliminating the email ping-pong that takes place when working to meet the people who can be the most helpful to you. It is also about being strategic in offering and deciding on when, where, and how to meet, as well as in how to follow up after a meeting has taken place.

Process is the source code for productivity. A good virtual assistant service will help you design process around your activities both to free you from mundane tasks and to help make these everyday tasks drive long-term strategy.

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