Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Are You My Lindsey?

Are You My Lindsey?

Do You have a Lindsey?

Do You Know a Lindsey

Are You My Lindsey?

I asked those questions recently during a telephone conversation I was having with a vendor. It was pretty obvious that the vendor was a really, really good Administrative Assistant. I could even hear her smiling across the phone.  So I asked her if she was a Lindsey. She kind of chuckled and then she asked me “what do you mean by Lindsey?”

So I began to tell her the story of the Lindsey that came into my life when I played a pretty important role as a US Air Force Chief of Maintenance for Information Technologies for the entire country of Turkey back in the 1980s.

In our information group we had several directors:  operations, maintenance, plans & programs, engineering, etc. Each of our directors, and I was one of them, was required to go out and visit their troops and people at least once every quarter. I chose to go as often as I could, and because I had almost two dozen sites to visit I had to spend more time traveling to the sites and away from my headquarters where my office was located, and my family.  

So in the course of my travels, by the time I finished rotating to all the sites it was already almost time to start rotating back from the beginning again.  It was never ending, but I loved being out and about with me people! 

Needless to say, that left me very little time when I returned home to catch up on my “inbox” at home or visit my own staff at the headquarters, where I had 50 people that supported all our remote sites and customers.

You can imagine that if I was out for a week or two away from our headquarters, and from my staff, probably the inbox got pretty stacked up and backlogged. And that's exactly what should have happened every time when I returned home after going out on visits.  When I first started going out on visits, I was very worried that my inbox would be overwhelming when I returned.  Later I learned that was never going to be a concern for me.

There was a big difference between me as a director and any of the other directors. That big difference was that I had a Lindsey. Lindsey was my administrative assistant and a staff sergeant.  She was also a redhead and was a very “get things done” kind of person.  She was an excellent office assistant and very good with administrative duties.

So many times when I would return home, after a couple of weeks out with my people, I would  expect to see all kinds of mail in my inbox. However generally the inbox was pretty much empty or else minimal mail was stacked up in it. 

At first, I just thought that there must not be a lot of things going on, but in the course of a couple of days to a week after I returned each time from my travels, I noticed what was really happening. 

Lindsey would hold all the mail in her desk drawer and only feed me the mail that was prioritized as really important.  Then over the course of the next couple of days to a week, she would eventually feed me the rest of my mail until all that remained were a couple of insignificant mail pieces in my inbox.  

So, my Lindsey did several things for me:

  1. Acted as a gatekeeper and boundary manager for my professional life.
  2. Prioritized the"important from the unimportant" in my life, allowing me to focus on the really important!
  3. She wrote letters for me, as me...and then gave them to me with no concern that I might write them all over again or throw them away.  She learned my “voice,” and became very adept at writing like it was me.  I generally could just simply sign the letters she had already drafted and out the door they went.  This was an art in learn my voice...and she was very good at it.
  4. By doing all that she did (which was not part of her job description), Lindsey allowed me to be… be “me” and spend quality time with my people and my family.

I would come back home and instead of getting inundated with work piled up high in my inbox, where I might have to stay up till midnight or more for several days or maybe even weeks to catch up, I could visit my workcenters and go home to be with my family.  Lindsey’s actions and thoughtfulness were priceless.  She definitely went above and beyond!

This was not at all like the other directors who often times, when they got home from a road trip, would spend an inordinate amount of time in their offices racing to “whittle” down their inboxes and catch up.

On occasion, I would go home and spend the time with my family, and on the way out of the base, I would look through the open windows and see the other directors at their desks working overtime in their offices.  They did not have a “Lindsey.”
It took me a while before I realized that my Chief and Lindsey, together, teamed up to help me organize a much more effective and efficient life by prioritizing and also by guarding information that didn't need to come to me or distract me.  They were my boundaries and my protectors if you will.

Because of them, I had a better quality of life with my family, the people in my organization, and personally. I am still heavily indebted and grateful to the Chief and Lindsey for having enabled me to focus on the really important things in life….my people (their people too) and my family ... and definitely NOT my inbox.

How about you? Do you have a Lindsey in your life?  If you do, please make sure you take good care of them and let them know you are grateful and appreciative in everything they do.  If you don’t have a Lindsey, keep a lookout….there is always a Lindsey waiting to be found.  In fact a Lindsey most likely is looking for you right now.

I think we all need a Lindsey in our lives and I have been so blessed over the last 10 years or so to have had another Lindsey in my life at Deutsch’s Gym and here at DCS Netlink.

On this special day... Administrative Professionals' Day 2018, I am dedicating this month’s blog to another very important Lindsey in my General Manager at DCS Netlink (IT Company).  

Thank you Kerrie for all you have done and continue to do to make life rich and productive for my wife and I running our businesses, for our gymnastics daughters and their teams, and for our families at Deutsch’s Gym, and here at DCS Netlink.  

Smile On and Trike On!