Thank Your Admins

Quiz question: name the one person in your organization known to all of your customers, most of your superiors, all of your peers and the people who work for you, and anyone who has even the faintest interest in connecting with you?

Answer: your administrator. He or she is the only person that talks to everyone, and ensures that those people retain some interest in talking to you. Your administrator is the public face of your company and your role in that company. Friday concludes Professional Administrator's Week, so don't let the chance to say "thank you" slide.

My administrative assistant, Linda, saves my work or family life at least once a week. For a 2:00 AM flight out of Beijing, Linda noticed that I had been booked a day earlier than I wanted to leave (hmm, that date change after midnight gets you every time) and made sure I wasn't left a stranger in a strange land. She makes sure I have time to get from Point A to Point B, whether on foot or in the car, and tries to clear a path for food in whatever time zone I need to be fed. Fax, email, phone or SMS, she knows how to find me appropriately and promptly.

Most important, though, is that everyone I meet is quick to tell me that Linda is wonderful, prompt, polite, creative, and easy to work with. They're right, and not a day goes by when I don't appreciate those attributes.

The other person who gets the major kudos today is Karen, Scott McNealy's administrator. More than a dozen years ago, I made an egregious faux pas with a customer, becoming entangled in a political fight via a design document (with my name on it) that was used as an organizational forcing function. One of the people so forced called Scott's office, looking for my head. This is where Karen executed a kick save that would make Marty Brodeur proud: she informed Scott, got my line of business VP on the phone, initiated damage control both locally and globally, and within 24 hours there was a plan to repair the relationship. The "plan" mostly involved having me on the receiving end of some deserved dressing-downs, but had this festered the net result would not have been nearly as good for me, for Sun, or for my management chain.

To Linda, Karen, and the hundreds of other administrators at Sun, "thank you."

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Hal Stern's thoughts on software, services, cloud computing, security, privacy, and data management

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