Welcome to the Future

Now is the time to radically challenge the way you and your organisation have been doing things

Welcome to the Future

With many of us now working from home and our organisations continuing to function this is a prime opportunity to start challenging those processes and habits that have just been part of the fabric for decades, but which may actually not be required at all, or not required as frequently.

Every organisation, no matter how large or small does things that are either unproductive, ineffective or actually a total waste of time. The problem is that we never have the time to challenge these activities – usually because we are too busy doing all the things that eat into our time in the first place.

Given the change of circumstances that we are all finding ourselves in I am sure that many processes are on hold, many meetings are not being held and many things are not been done that used to get done.

We must now ask ourselves 3 questions when we return to normality

  • “Did we really need to do that task?”
  • “Did we really need to meet every week?”
  • “Did we really need to do that task as frequently”





Many of us, and it is just human nature, tend to follow the herd. It is called “Groupthink” which describes the situation where a person does not want to upset the “group” thinking or does not want to be the maverick.

How many times have you heard that phrase or variations thereof eg. “But we have always done it that way”. Much too often I would guess.

Let me give you an example:

A number of years ago I had a Project Manager who told me a story. Let’s call him Mike.

One of Mike’s responsibilities was to produce a weekly status report for the Project Executive Steering Group made up of senior executives. The task would normally take Mike 3 to 4 hours, every week.

Now Mike suspected, well actually he knew, that the members of the Project Executive Steering Group very rarely, if ever, read the status reports. Mike therefor decided to conduct an experiment.

Mike would send the members of the Steering Group an email with the status report attached as an excel file. One week he simply sent each member a blank spreadsheet – appropriately named of course – and stood back and waited.

What do you think happened?

Correct – absolutely nothing. Not one of the Project Executive Steering Group contacted Mike to tell him that the spreadsheet was empty.


Well, obviously, none of them actually opened it.

This went on for a period of about 4 to 5 weeks until one member did notice and contacted Mike. All Mike did was apologise and attached the correct report.

However, at the next physical Steering group meeting he announced what he had been doing and challenged the Executives. There was much embarrassment of course but they all put their hands up and admitted that actually they were not that interested in weekly updates. The outcome was an agreement that there was actually no need to submit weekly and that monthly was sufficient there by saving Mike 1.5 days a month.




 There are many such examples within your organisation and this is your opportunity to stand up when you return and to challenge just why we have been doing things the way we have.

During this time just start to think about everything that you, your boss and your colleagues that you support used to do and now cannot do or cannot do as frequently but where there has not been a significant deterioration in performance. For example:-

  • Is the Weekly Meeting actually necessary? Should we not consider making them every two weeks when we return or even every three weeks?
  • How many normally recurring meetings were actually not held during this period and did it make any difference? Did people manage to communicate without having the meeting? If so, is that meeting absolutely necessary?
  • Did you have meetings that people would normally travel to? Did they cope meeting remotely? If so, then why revert to meetings that require travelling?
  • Has anybody complained about not receiving information from you which you would normally send? If not, then challenge whether they actually needed that information in the first place
  • Have people managed to cope with electronic reports as opposed to printed versions? If so, is it absolutely necessary to print all these reports for future meetings?



Stand Out





As we all enter a new and challenging phase in our corporate working lives more and more of use will need to start working remotely however our organisations need to keep operating to survive.

As Executive Assistants this is your opportunity to shine. Showing knowledge of the technology that your company already has or can easily sign up to will stand you in good stead.

Here are some FREE tutorial videos that can help you navigate some of the more common tools for managing remote meetings…


Microsoft Teams


Google Hangouts


If you know of any more free tutorials please do let me know





FREE Webinar: Mobilizing your remote workforce in this difficult time.



With the recent events on the global health scene, organizations around the world are turning to technology to enable their employees to work remotely.

With tools such as Microsoft Teams, businesses can continue to hold meetings, conduct events and communicate with one another – online. Having the technology in place is a prerequisite, but as always, and perhaps in particular in a time of uncertainty, providing users with guidance, reassurance and support is of key importance.

BMTG (UK) Ltd are working closely with Microsoft’s Adoption and Change Management partner “Storyals”.

If you wish to know more about how to leverage Microsoft Teams during the uncertain period and whilst your colleagues are experiencing home-working for the first time please join the Storyals FREE WEBINAR on the 18th March to learn more about how to get your organization ready for the change and go digital through Microsoft Teams.

The webinar will be conducted at two different times for your convenience:

  1. 11 AM UTC
  2. 5 PM UTC

As Executive Assistants this is your opportunity to stand up and be counted. Show your boss and your colleagues how you will calmly and rationally respond to the unfolding crisis and deliver solutions that meet your organisations needs.




ACEA® Alumni Interview: Taís Fagundes

We are delighted to continue with our Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA® Alumni interviews with the fabulous Taís Fagundes from Brazil.

Temos o prazer de continuar as entrevistas de ex-alunos da Certificação Avançada para o Assistente Executivo: ACEA® com a fabulosa Taís Fagundes do Brasil.

Lisa Roos Fotografia

Taís was fundamental in bringing ACEA® to São Paulo in 2019 having pushed for it for many years. She also helped significantly with the logistics and planning of our first venture into South America

Taís foi fundamental para trazer a ACEA® a São Paulo em 2019, tendo impulsionado por muitos anos esta vinda. Ela também ajudou significativamente com a logística e planejamento do nosso primeiro empreendimento na América do Sul.

Please Tell us a bit about yourself? / Conte-nos um pouco sobre você?

I’m Taís Fagundes, Trilingual Executive Assistant expert in communication and multicultural approach. I work as an Executive Assessor at AGCO South America, global leader in agricultural equipment supporting Manufacturing Vice-President and Operations Director and their teams. I’m located in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil.

Eu sou Taís Fagundes, Secretária Executiva Trilíngue expert em comunicação e multiculturalidade. Atuo como Assessora Executiva na AGCO América do Sul, multinacional líder global em equipamentos agrícolas, assessorando o Vice-Presidente de Manufatura, o Diretor de Operações e seus times. Estou alocada na operação de Canoas, estado do Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.

Where and when did you attend your ACEA® training and who delivered it? / Onde e quando você participou do treinamento da ACEA® e quem o ministrou?

I did ACEA® training in São Paulo, Brazil (June’19). The trainer was Richard Arnott.

Fiz o treinamento ACEA® em São Paulo, Brasil (Junho/2019). O ministrante foi Richard Arnott

There are many training courses available for Executive Assistants. Why did you choose ACEA® in particular? / Existem muitos treinamento disponíveis para assistentes executivos. Por que você escolheu o ACEA® em particular?

I read about the certification in Lucy Brazier website 5 years ago. Happily, in 2019 was the first edition in Brazil and it was outstanding! ACEA® is a unique training that was made by an executive view. I’ve never saw any other training for Executive Assistant that was based on executive expectations. The contents are very high level and updated for business needs.

Eu li sobre a certificação no site da Lucy Brazier há 5 anos atrás. Felizmente, em 2019 ocorreu a primeira edição no Brasil e foi maravilhoso! ACEA® é um treinamento único feito por meio da visão do executivo. Nunca vi nenhum outro treinamento para o Assistente Executivo que tivesse como base as expectativas do executivo. O conteúdo é atual e de alto nível para as necessidades dos negócios.

What were your favourite subjects covered and why? / Quais foram os seus assuntos favoritos abordados e por quê?

Project Management and methodologies is a dense topic, but very important. This overview helps to understand what passes with the executives and what are theirs tasks and deliveries. Knowing that, I can help support him in the best way possible.

Gerenciamento de projetos e metodologias é um tópico denso, porém muito importante. Essa visão geral ajuda a entender o que acontece com os executivos e quais são suas tarefas e entregas. Sabendo disso, posso ajudar a apoiá-lo da melhor maneira possível.

Has achieving ACEA® helped you personally or in your career? / Obter a certificação ACEA® ajudou você pessoalmente ou em sua carreira?

Yes, it helps. The DISC that we did in course is one example. As an EA we have to know ourselves and how we are going to react in some circumstances and also understanding the executive. Focus to keep a healthy environment on routine without burnout.

Sim, com certeza ajudou. Um exemplo é o DISC que fizemos no curso. Como profissional de Secretariado, temos que nos conhecer e saber como vamos reagir em algumas circunstâncias e também entender o executivo. O foco está em manter uma rotina e ambiente saudável, sem burnout.


Was there anything in particular that you remember returning to the office with and implementing? / Houve algo em particular que você lembra de voltar ao escritório e implementar?

Many ideas from the topic ‘Performance goals/KPIs’ brought up. It is a challenge to measure the office routines sometimes, but with the rates and examples that we share in the group, more options appears.

Muitas ideias de metas de ‘Performance/KPIs’ foram apresentadas. Às vezes, é um desafio mensurar as rotinas do escritório, mas com os exemplos e formas que compartilhamos no grupo mais opções apareceram.


If a friend or colleague asked you to convince them to attend ACEA® what would you say to them? / Se um amigo ou colega lhe pedisse para convencê-lo a participar do ACEA®, o que você diria a eles?

The Certification opens new possibilities and ideas. ACEA® give me ‘tools’ to bring innovation to the office. Other important point was the cases and information that weshare as a group. This shows us some differences and singularities in business (how some things work in an industry that it is possible to apply in a service company, for instance). And also an opportunity of a multicultural approach having a native from english language trainer.

A certificação internacional abre novas possibilidades e ideias. ACEA® fornece ‘ferramentas’ para trazer inovação ao escritório. Outro ponto importante foram os estudos de casos e as informações que compartilhamos como um grupo. Isso nos mostrou algumas diferenças e singularidades que cada segmento de negócio tem (comparações entre indústria e serviço, público e privado, etc.). E também uma oportunidade de abordagem multicultural com um instrutor nativo do idioma inglês.



Thank you very much Taís and thank you for all your help. Muitoss obrigadas Taís e obrigado por toda sua ajuda.

Taís is happy to be contacted by any Executive Assistants in South America who may be interetsed in attending the next ACEA® scheduled for 15-19 June 2020. Her contact details are …. / Taís pode ser contatada por qualquer Assistente Executivo na América do Sul que possa ser interetado em participar da próxima ACEA® marcada para 15 a 19 de junho de 2020. Os detalhes de contato dela são…

Taís blog: http://www.taisfagundes.com

Instagram: tf.secretary

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/taisfagundes