The terms "business partner" and "strategic partner" have become increasingly familiar, particularly in the domain of executive assistants, who are, more and more, gaining recognition for their strategic contributions.
Despite widespread use in major corporations, such as "Administrative Business Partner" (employed by Google and Stripe) and "Executive Business Partner" (utilized by Airbnb, Google, YouTube, and Lyft), there persists a misunderstanding in some circles. The term "business partner" is erroneously interpreted, by some, as implying equality in accountability, responsibilities, and status. This misconception often leads to scepticism, even among senior figures in the profession. It is essential to address these misconceptions and underscore the true essence of the executive assistant's role as a business partner, regardless of the job title.
Similar to the term "HR Partner," where equality isn't implied but rather a collaborative alliance between HR and the business, the term "business partner" takes on a distinct meaning when applied to executive assistants, emphasizing strategic collaboration rather than parity in accountability, responsibilities and salary.
The strategic role of executive assistants holds considerable importance and has transcended traditional administrative duties. These professionals are now pivotal contributors to an organization's strategic vision and decision-making processes. In understanding organisational goals and foreseeing challenges, executive assistants play a key role in shaping strategic initiatives.
As mentioned earlier, the role of an "Administrative Business Partner" in organisations like Google and Stripe or "Executive Business Partners" in companies such as Airbnb, Google, YouTube, and Lyft exemplify the strategic contributions of executive assistants.
So break free from a fixation on job titles (who cares what you are called as long as the money is good – right?), start thinking strategically and ignore those who would try to keep you in your box by saying that you are not “Business Partners”.
About the Author:
Richard Arnott, BA, FInatAM, FIToL, is the Director of BMTG (UK) Ltd, and the author and lead presenter of the groundbreaking, globally recognised Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA® program. Richard also sits on the editorial board of Lucy Brazier OBE’s Executive Support Magazine
Please connect with Richard on Linkedin and please also join our LinkedIn group, "The Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA®," to connect with a community of forward-thinking executive assistants committed to career growth and development