The Starbucks organiser Wifey gave me

Wifey gave me the above two days go. And yesterday, I received the company’s organiser. As a result, I now have three organisers on my desk, and this is a hint from me to all those who plan on giving me yet another organiser as a corporate gift.

Organising is part and parcel of life -but in the working world, no matter what industry you might come from, organising skills is expected of you, especially if you are a chief clerk (admin exec) or above.

When I was an officer cadet, my squadmates and I were given organising tasks that are usually ad-hoc but very demanding in nature. You’re usually to work with what little resources you have, and must successfully execute the task receiving very little or no complaints at all, especially from the Chief Instructor, who happens to be the current Chief of Armed Forces. Those days, the lesser he spoke or opined, the better life would be for us. It was a bit like the difference between sheer heaven and pure hell.

As the Adjutant of the Air Training Command HQ, I was once given the task to organise a Command Conference at a remote location, 400 kilometers away, in a dilapidated bungalow, some 50 kilometers from the nearest military unit that I could rely on for logistical support. I was also required to provide a 5-star equivalent services to the guests, including free-flow food and drinks round-the-clock. And I was given a 2-day notice to get things ready from the word ‘GO’. I pulled that off quite well, I’d say. With all the experiences gained in the Air Force, I went on to organise several record-setting attempts, co-organised expeditions and international events for several states.

All the while,never forgetting the five basic principles of management learnt in the military: Planning, Organising, Commanding, Delegating, and Coordinating. And it is always akin to playing golf: set your target, analyse the conditions (appreciation of the situation), choose the best course of action, whack the ball, and follow-through. How far the ball goes and where it lands, depend on the factors that precede the whacking phase. The better you were at organising that whack, the lesser the trouble the game is for you later on.

And I always expect my subordinates, even in my line of work now, to have the same attitude towards organising. I, for one, dislike jobs that are done half-heartedly, or in haste, or not given much thought in terms of organising and execution. And I never smoke the cigar until the fat lady truly sings. Therefore, if I have a manager or an exec under me, I expect him or her to do something thoroughly: no half-baked organising and stuff. I certainly dislike assumptions, and the easiest thing a subordinate could do is to assume that he/she had gotten the instructions correctly, and take things easy assuming everything is correct. Worse still, if a subordinate given a certain task, does not check for correct requirements, does not follow-through to see if orders were adhered to, and details taken care of. And to make matters worse, he/she has his/her mind set on the weekend or go on leave prior to the event deadline.

I write this as I have received and gone through several resumes for the post of being my executive assistant.

Files have flown before; and even in the Air Force I used to receive lots of transfer request from subordinates who would rather spend time in the theater of operations than to be in my headquarters. All except for one lady corporal who was one of the recruits that I trained, who now works in the Kedah State Secretariat in a relatively high post. She would cry when a file folder flies into her face, but she would never give up at trying to excel in what she did.

That, is the quality I am looking for, in an EA who is to organise things on my behalf. For those with lacksadaisical attitude, you can take your resume back and burn it to warm yourself up in this blistering cold Kuala Lumpur winter.