As Chief of Staff, Hallie Warner works closely with the executive team to manage special projects, hire and grow talent, and maximize her executive’s reach through events and strategic communication.
In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, Hallie and I talk about the differences between an Executive Assistant and a Chief of Staff, managing interruptions, writing a book, working too much, and what makes an assistant a leader.
Hallie and her executive, Adam Hergenrother co-authored the book, The Founder and the Force Multiplier.
A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
– Lao Tzu
Hallie Warner is the Chief of Staff to Adam Hergenrother.
She has worked side-by-side with Adam for over eight years, ensuring that his vision is communicated and implemented.
As chief of staff, Hallie works closely with the executive team to manage special projects, hire and grow talent, and maximize Adam’s reach through events and strategic communication.
In her free time, Hallie pursues her hobbies: reading, blogging, kayaking, and traveling, preferably to the beach. She lives in Williston, Vermont, with her husband, Bill, and their dog, Karma.
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Hallie Warner 0:00
I’m Hallie Warner. Today’s leadership quote is from Lao Tzu. A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done his aim fulfilled they will say we did it ourselves.
Podcast Intro 0:14
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become irreplaceable, Game Changing leader assistants
Podcast Outro 0:25
please review on iTunes here listening to episode seventeen.
Jeremy Burrows 0:30
Hallie Warner is the chief of staff to Adam Hergenrother. She has worked side by side with Adam for over eight years, ensuring that his vision is communicated and implemented. As chief of staff Hallie works closely with the executive team to manage special projects, hire and grow talent and maximize Adams reach through events and strategic communication. In her free time, Hallie pursues her hobbies, reading, blogging, kayaking, and traveling, preferably to the beach. She lives in Wilston, Vermont with her husband Bill and their dog karma. You can check out the show notes from today’s episode at leaderassistant.com/seventeen. Now let’s get right into the interview. I hope you enjoy it. Hey, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. Today’s guest is Hallie Warner. She is chief of staff at Adam Hergenrother companies. Hallie, welcome to the show.
Hallie Warner 1:30
Thank you, Jeremy, thank you so much for having me on.
Jeremy Burrows 1:34
Yeah. So let’s jump right in. What was your very first job?
Hallie Warner 1:43
Well, aside from you know, babysitting when I was like 12, my first real job was at a summer camp. I was like, I don’t know, I was a camp counselor, or something like that quickly realized that was not anything I wanted to do in my life. But my first real job had a call. And you know, I did retail and that sort of thing. And my first real job, outside of out of college was working at a nonprofit as a PR and marketing assistant.
Jeremy Burrows 2:14
Nice. So what did you learn in that job that you’ve been able to apply In your EA and chief of staff career?
Hallie Warner 2:23
Yeah, I learned a couple of cool things. One, I was surrounded, surrounded with a lot of really incredible female leaders. So that was just really kind of empowering to see and watch them, you know, navigate their careers. I learned a lot about just how to work in an office environment, it was my first, you know, office job. So just really the basics of how to navigate relationships with your co workers and with your supervisors, and how to just operate office equipment. That was really key. And I think I also learned how to how to take how to take ideas and really present them. I mean, they were doing, they weren’t doing a whole lot of things like innovative things with social media, or, you know, online advertising. And you know, it was getting nonprofit, but you know, just getting the message out online. So I presented a lot of ideas to them and realized, hey, they took my ideas, and we implemented them. And that was just a really good confidence builder for me.
Jeremy Burrows 3:26
So how long have you been an assistant?
Hallie Warner 3:29
Yeah, since then. So that was 2007. So basically, my entire career. And while I don’t really consider myself as an assistant anymore, only because my roles evolved. I mean, I’m still assisting and leading by executive every day. So my whole career really
Jeremy Burrows 3:50
Yeah, yeah. So what’s the difference? So you’re currently chief of staff? Depending on who you talk to chief of staff has a different definition. What’s the difference between a chief of staff and an executive assistant?
Hallie Warner 4:08
Yes, I get that question often. So I there’s a few caveats to this. So depending on the size and scope of the organization, it can they sometimes overlap. For many years, I was operating both as an EA and a chief of staff. Sometimes the chief of staff is really operating as an EA, sometimes EA is really operating as chief of staff, when all things considered and you’ve the organization as such, where there are both of those individuals existing in an organization. I feel like that’s usually the best way to explain it. Or if you think about the President, the President has a chief of staff and the President has an executive assistant. Right? It’s very, the EA is more tactical, and the chief of staff is more strategic, again, often overlap. And when there’s only one person in the role, regardless of their title, they’re usually doing both. But as I kind of grew in my career, and we hired an EA I now I’m working just really on the strategy working on more leadership projects and special projects with with Adam, my executive. And our executive assistant handles the day to day operations of the executive office scheduling travel, immediate requests and needs and like just that really tactical stuff that’s just a little bit more task oriented, and detailed or specific, where I again, do more strategy projects, a lot of creative work.
Jeremy Burrows 5:24
So what’s another title that you’ve heard of or seen that is similar to chief of staff, but in different settings might be called something else?
Hallie Warner 5:36
So good question, sometimes it is executive assistant. I’ve seen executive, oh, geez, I’m gonna forget what it’s called. But I want to say like, executive business partner, I’ve seen. And I have, sometimes it’s a VP role that’s operating as a VP of whatever, right? VP of Communications or VP of public relations, operating as a chief of staff. But usually, they have the kind of dual titles, it’s usually chief of staff and VP of whatever.
Jeremy Burrows 6:05
What about if you go to like a really large organization? Like you’ll see Chief Strategy Officer? Yeah. How would a chief of staff, you know, you mentioned you’re really doing a lot more strategy? How would they interact? Or would that be kind of a whole different ballgame with the, you know, large enterprise?
Hallie Warner 6:26
Yeah, I don’t know if I could really speak to an organization like an organization that that’s that large. I mean, we’re a smaller startup organization. I’m not exactly sure what a chief strategy officer does. I mean, like, what their their general role is, is it strategy for the company? Is it strategy for certain business division? Is it? I mean, really, it can be it’s because we get anything is it strategy
Jeremy Burrows 6:26
Hallie Warner 6:28
yeah. As a strategy for the executive. I mean, I feel like the chief of staff is the one who doesn’t actually have a particular division or one responsibility. Like, I would imagine, the chief strategy officer is responsible for specific deliverables for a business division or business function, right?
Jeremy Burrows 7:09
Hallie Warner 7:09
And I believe that as chief of staff, does not have a specific deliverable for one any particular business function, but rather to bring all of those leaders together and make sure that everything’s being communicated up to the executive and from the executive down throughout the organization, so that everyone can achieve what they need to achieve as quickly as possible.
Jeremy Burrows 7:29
So if there is not a very clear deliverable in a lot of those cases, how would you if there’s an executive assistant that wants to become a chief of staff, How would they propose that and how would they put together you know, a job description or a clear expectation and deliverables for kind of proving out that role, and proving out the salary increase? And all that kind of stuff?
Hallie Warner 7:56
Yeah, well, first, I will, I always say the first thing for them is they really need to understand what the two different the differences of the two roles are. I’ve often talked to executive assistants who then they under, they learn what I do, and they’re like, Oh, I wouldn’t actually like doing that. Because they love being in the details and coming up with, you know, these insanely, you know, amazing itineraries, and travel and being involved a little bit more personally within the executives life. And so I think that they, it sounds really cool and sexy to be the chief of staff. But the reality is, it’s just a different job, right? So getting really clear on that first, and then if they Yes, determine that getting outside of that, that cut more of the day to day that really high level detailed stuff is what they want to do. One in our organization, for example, you need to go hire your replacement. So if you want to give up that, those responsibilities, you better have somebody else who can take it over at a really high level, or else you’re gonna have two jobs. And that’s what happened to me for a little while, until we could find somebody else who could do it. And then I really think it comes down to proving your leadership skills, because it’s all about leadership and communication, really, for both for both roles. But I think it’s particularly for the chief of staff, it’s leadership and communication. And building out. The proposal is just here’s what, here’s what I could do if I could run alongside you a little bit more without having to do XY and Z. I imagine that EAs who are already on the have chief of staff on their brains are already doing a lot of the things the problem is that they’re they are also doing all of the EA responsibilities and therefore, they can’t actually achieve the chief of staff role at the highest level. So I really think it’s less about, you know, doing all of this other stuff and actually about getting rid of a lot of the detail oriented work so they can focus just on strategy, and how do they maximize their executives reach? How do they get them new business opportunities? How do they better communicate that to the executive? As vision throughout the organization, what will that do for the company? How will that increase clarity how clarity is power, but clarity is also speed. So, the more the chief can help the executive provide that clarity on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, the whole organization grows much faster.
Jeremy Burrows 10:19
So I think I’m probably, if you were to look at my current role, I’m probably more of a chief of staff. But I also but as you mentioned, I also do the detail, you know, EA stuff. Yeah. So is this something that if there are other assistants listening who are in the same boat as me, were they that you’re what you’re describing is what they do. My, my thought has always been okay, there’s going to be a point where we’re a small company, I’m the only a in the company, we have 60 people been around for two and a half years. So my thought has always been okay, at some point, I could hire an assistant to work with me, and kind of take over, be able to jump into more of what you’re calling the chief of staff type of work. So if somebody’s listening, thinking, Wait a minute, I pretty much in the chief of staff show, is it something that eh, should strive to become? Put it this way, if they’re already doing all the chief of staff work? Should they like seek out that title change? And? Or does it depend on what industry they’re in? Does that make sense? Like, is that something that almost all EAs should strive to become? In your opinion?
Hallie Warner 11:39
I think it goes a little bit back to what I said in the beginning, only if that’s truly the position that they want. Like, about five years ago, I did a bunch of soul searching, and where did I want to go in my career? And because I’m in a smaller organization, I work directly with a founder, we’re constantly building new companies. I’m like, Okay, where do I see myself in the next 5 10 15 years? So I did a lot of research on various positions, I looked, looked up, see, oh, I looked up chief of staff and did really like in depth research on what did those, you know, people do in their in their career. And I was like, Oh, this chief of staff is exactly what I want to what I am doing and where I want to be long term. But like I said, not everybody actually wants to do that. So first, they just need should all EAs strive to become chief of staff, sure. But only that’s actually the job that they want. Because some might be better suited to be a chief administrative officer. Or maybe they should be a COO. Or maybe they should move into the communications department or the marketing department. So I think it really depends on where you want your career to go. And if many EAs are already operating as a chief of staff, and that then yes, 100% asked for the title change. That’s exactly what I did.
Jeremy Burrows 12:51
And then have you seen in your industry research and market research, have you seen the title chief of staff is typically at a higher salary level than executive assistant? Or does that also depend on size of company and industry and all that?
Hallie Warner 13:05
I think it totally depends. I mean, I hate that answer. Because it’s so vague, but I really think it depends, I think in like startup environments, it’s probably pretty similar. I think the larger the organization becomes in the more if you’ve got one chief, and you’ve got like, you know, 20, EAs, servicing various executives and departments. Yeah, sure. It’s gonna look different. But yeah, I think it’s a little bit dependent on on the size of the organization and the scope of the role.
Jeremy Burrows 13:33
Yeah. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made As an assistant? And what did you learn from the experience?
Hallie Warner 13:40
Oh, geez. Yeah, I always have like two stories that come to mind. One is a little bit more of like a tactical example. The, it was when I was first learning how to interview and hire people. And we have a very specific process for that. And this was like eight years ago, but it is stuck with me, believe me. And one of our processes is when we are looking, when we are getting references, we make sure that they sign we’d like to go through what we call three deep on references. So we re speak to three references. And then we ask them, Who else do they know that we should speak to? And then after we talk to those people, we ask that that second level, who do you know that we should also speak to about this candidate? So yeah, they’d like to know we’d like to know who we’re getting into business with. So we have them sign a form like a waiver basically, that says, yes, you can speak to my references and anyone else that they recommend that I speak to. I said, Okay, great. And you know, we’re going this is like the first time I’ve ever done this, and I failed to get that signed. And I ended up talking to like a second level candidate that and then the candidate or second level level reference, the candidate found out she was so upset, because she was just trying to protect this friend. It wasn’t that she didn’t want me to speak to her. She had stuff going on in her life, personally, whatever. She didn’t want me to bother her. I didn’t know that right? I didn’t get it signed. And I she never signed, she returned it with her references, but she didn’t sign it. And I just missed that she hadn’t signed it signed the form. And yeah, she withdrew her candidacy, she probably would have, we probably wouldn’t move forward with her. She was great. So that was a big, it was a big lesson in, there’s a process, you follow it for a reason, you know, you need to double and triple check everything. And that, you know, relationships are really important because they were super important to her. And that just reminded me how we don’t want to I don’t want to take that for granted or ruin a relationship for anybody because of some, you know, dumb error that I made. And then I’m sorry, go ahead.
Jeremy Burrows 15:44
No, I was just gonna say what’s the other? You said there was a different one. Yeah. I want to I wanna hear all your mistakes.
Hallie Warner 15:50
Yeah. Well, I mean, I’m sure you know, definitely made mistakes here. And here they are over the years. Another one was actually more recently, when we hired an executive assistant. She and I were both kind of in the calendar and Adams calendar. And we realized, like, I didn’t she hadn’t put something in yet. Or maybe I missed it. And then I confirmed that Yes, Adam was available for something, to speak at a annual, I don’t know, the annual dinner or something for a hospital, because he sponges the president of the hospital. And so we confirmed that he could be there. And then to come to find out he actually couldn’t. So what I learned from that was one person needs to own the calendar. And I was so used to doing it for so for seven years, that I was just like, oh, yeah, I can handle this, you know, and then she was putting stuff in, I was putting stuff in. And then after that, we immediately said, No way. I’m never touching that calendar again, even if I have to just email her and tell her to put something and there was only one person can can own that and be in there. That’s a great, great, yeah. Yes. And it just reminded me that I need to let go, yeah, and delegate and leverage. And I don’t need to be doing everything, particularly when we hired somebody else to do it.
Jeremy Burrows 17:04
Yeah, what’s your best tip for managing constant interruptions?
Hallie Warner 17:08
This isn’t one that takes time. But it’s setting setting expectations with people, there’s lots of different ways that you can do it, we have a pretty good culture of time blocking. And that’s just something that we’ve talked about for many, many years. So everybody understands that concept with the throughout the organization. I’m working on my one thing right now. So if you say that to somebody, they know that that’s kind of blocked, uninterrupted time, whatever your most important task of the day is. So again, it takes a time, but it’s building that culture. And that’s certainly something an EA or chief can do is help build that culture of structure, which we’ve done. And then the other I think, is just setting setting expectations with people. And I know, it’s way easier said than done. But that can be anything from Yes, great, you know, great question. I have time at three o’clock. Can you swing back around? And I’ll talk to you that? And or, you know, great, I’d love to talk to you about that. Can I? Can you shoot me an email, we can schedule a time so I can give you my full attention. And oftentimes, I just use that same phrase over and over again, about scheduling time with me scheduling time with me. And then what I realize is, one, hardly anyone ever gets back to you and wants to schedule the time because they were just trying to, you know, bothering you or interrupting you because they knew you could answer the question quicker than they could, if they just took two minutes to do it themselves. They’re just, they need a break, their energy is low. So they’re looking searching for a way to get some energy. So they’re looking to somebody for somebody to talk to. And again, if you asked to schedule that time, by the time that they’ve actually like, take the time to email you back and schedule it, they usually found out the information themselves. And then the rare people who do actually get in touch with you and schedule your time are ones who are worth getting on your calendar.
Jeremy Burrows 18:53
Yeah, I agree. That’s, that’s, I use that practice every day. So
Hallie Warner 18:57
yes. Yeah. And it’s not easy all the time, especially when people are like at two and I don’t necessarily use that for Adam. He’s really good about you know, respecting my time and, and Amy’s time, Amy’s executive assistant, her time and because he knows how much work we have. We have to do but if you need something he he’s one he’s an exception. We stop whatever we need. We’re doing for him.
Jeremy Burrows 19:18
Yeah, I do the same. Yeah. So you hired an assistant, as you kind of stepped into the chief of staff role. What should executives look for in an assistant?
Hallie Warner 19:28
Oh, so much. Me I want to say no details organizational must go without saying, but there’s in and planning. Great. I want to say always strategic skills, but really being able to, to problem solve creatively is really key. And then there’s some more of the on the intangibles that we look for, and I would encourage executives to look for which are adaptability, flexible, fast paced, being super responsive. We like to see a little bit of intensity and people, hungry, humble, they have intense self motivation and drive. Somebody who is comfortable leading from behind and leading through influence somebody who has high emotional intelligence, there’s just a few just keep going.
Jeremy Burrows 20:16
What’s what’s one productivity hack that you can’t live without?
Hallie Warner 20:21
Oh, I don’t know if it’s a hack, but what I mean, every week is probably not really hack, but I’ll tell you, somebody helps my productivity. Every week I do, I complete this form, and it’s called a 411. It’s for four weeks, one month, one year, with the intention of if you’re hitting your goals every week, you will inevitably hit your monthly goals. And if you’re hitting your monthly goals, you’re gonna hit your annual goals, right? So every week, I fill out my 411. It’s I’ve done this literally for almost nine years, every single week for nine years. And I fill it out at the end of every week, it prompts me for the week ahead. If I’m ever in a moment, where I’m like, geez, what should I do? Should I pray? You know, reprioritize? Or what do I need to focus on next, I go to my 411. Adam gets a copy of that every week. So he knows exactly what I’m working on that week. And when we do our Monday morning meeting, if he, we need to adjust or shift something we can usually we don’t, whatever I’m working on. I can’t I already know I need to be working on at this point. But it’s just a really great tool. It’s not like a long task lists list. It’s like what are the three to five most important things that need to be accomplished this week. And those inevitably, again, will help me hit my monthly goals and then have my annual goals. And it’s not just for business, there’s actually a personal financial component to that and a personal goal component to that as well.
Jeremy Burrows 21:39
What format or software or tool template do you use to kind of keep track of all that?
Hallie Warner 21:46
Yeah, it’s it’s actually literally called the 411. And it’s from the book, The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. And if you go to the one thing, one, the number one, the1thing.com, there’s actually a ton of resources on there all about productivity, time management, time blocking, and you can actually download a copy of the 411. Right there. Awesome.
Jeremy Burrows 22:09
I thought I’d recognize that I’ve read that book or listened to the audiobook. And yeah, I thought I’d recognize that from somewhere. So speaking of books, you and your boss, Adam, wrote a book together. It’s called the founder and force multiplier, is that correct?
Hallie Warner 22:29
Yes, The Founder and the Force Multiplier.
Jeremy Burrows 22:32
So what do you mean by force multiplier?
Hallie Warner 22:34
Oh, yeah. I believe that a force multiplier is somebody who extends and maximizes the reach of whoever they’re working with or for. Now, that’s a simple kind of definition. That it’s like any employee can be a force multiplier, right? We really are honing in on the force multiplier, as the executive assistant and or the chief of staff for an entrepreneur or an executive. And that relationship because it is it’s very different than, you know, a relationship with the with the executive and a CEO, CEO or CMO for a couple of reasons. The main one is the executive and the executive assistant or and/or, the chief of staff at our case, the three of us, we’re all working on the same thing. And the same project, right, our CEO was working on a whole bunch of stuff that we don’t necessarily know about, and she’s not involved. And what Adam and I and Amy are working on the force multiplier, somebody who, who’s actually working, they’re all working on the same job with the executive, the force multipliers, just doing specific parts of that project or specific parts of that job. So together, we’re all kind of one big brain just doing different pieces of one thing.
Jeremy Burrows 23:47
When did you decide that you were going to write a book with Adam
Hallie Warner 23:51
I think it was the end of 2017, we started thinking about, okay, we definitely want to write a book, what we’re going to write a book about, when we toyed with a couple of different topics. And then after looking at our blog, and what blog posts were really resonating with our audience and which were the most successful. Anytime we talked about the EA and the executive relationship, they just, like blew up. So we were like, Okay, this is our topic. And then we just kind of got to work.
Jeremy Burrows 24:18
Was it your idea originally? Or was it his idea?
Hallie Warner 24:22
Oh, gosh, that I honestly don’t know. At this point, like, it’s like, we have the same ideas at the same time. It’s almost like who just says that first? So I don’t remember who who actually had that. Like, who had the idea. It was just part you know, through dialogue and conversation and that’s fair landed landed on it. Yeah.
Jeremy Burrows 24:42
What would you say to other assistants who are considering writing a book?
Hallie Warner 24:48
Do it. I mean, really just go do it. It’s not as difficult as you think it is. There’s I think, especially in that assistance space like EAs executive assistant admin assistants were just like, desperate for great information about the role and about how to build our careers. And whatever, you know, angle that an assistant is going to take is, is valuable because it’s from their perspective, it’s from their experience. And I mean, I read as much of that stuff as I can get my hands on,
Jeremy Burrows 25:19
do you have any tips for writing a book or finishing a book, because a lot of people start things, start books, start blog posts, start ideas, but then what are your tips for finishing a project like a book
Hallie Warner 25:33
A deadline is really helpful, even if it’s just a self imposed deadline. Setting aside the time all the content is probably in your head and doesn’t have to be perfect when you first get it down on paper, really, the key is just gotta get it all out there. And then you work with an editor and they can help you, you know, reframe, or reorganize paragraphs, or you know, and just your copy editing. But really, it’s just writing it and it’s writing it and not worrying about it being being perfect. And we we set aside like Adam and I went back and forth and talked a lot about the book, you know, brainstormed, and we wrote a lot of content stuff together. But at the end of the day, like writing is a kind of a solo activity. So I took a week, and I literally just wrote it, and basically a week based off of things that he and I had written previously based off of blog posts, compiling it, and it’s just setting aside the time make it get a deadline for yourself and set aside the time and make it happen.
Jeremy Burrows 26:32
What’s the number one biggest challenge that you’ve had as an assistant and or that you’ve heard heard from other assistants that they’ve had
Hallie Warner 26:43
probably my biggest challenge, while it is no longer a challenge, because I’ve been able I have overcome it. And it took many, many years. But the biggest My biggest challenge for a long time was just, honestly working too much. And, and not taking care of myself, and not putting myself first big, big challenge. And I would argue that that’s probably one of the assistants biggest challenges. And often they’ll other assistants will tell me that, you know, boundaries are a big issue for them. Boundaries wasn’t actually an issue for me, like Adam never imposed on, you know, me, and I didn’t have boundaries that were never an issue. So that wasn’t an issue for me. It was just, I am so driven to work that I is almost like an obsession, like I just need to work, work, work work. So I’ve gotten over that, thankfully, a little bit more balanced in my life, which is good.
Jeremy Burrows 27:36
So you did you burn out?
Hallie Warner 27:38
Absolutely. I left at the end of 2017. I like I quit working with Adam at the end of 2017. And went back in very early 2018. Thankfully, he we had a conversation and he was like, yeah, how do we how do we make this work? And which is great, because we’ve done amazing things since in the past year, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if I had not come back.
Jeremy Burrows 28:03
So what was your red flag? Or was it? Was it kind of post red flag? When you when you burned out? What was the thing that kind of was like, Oh, when did you wake up and say, oh, you know, I need it? I’m done.
Hallie Warner 28:20
Yeah, I didn’t really like I did not know I was in burnout. Like that is burnout is like a foreign concept. To me, I don’t understand. At the time, I didn’t understand I just thought hard work. I can do everything. I don’t need any help. I you know, that’s, that’s just my personality. So I didn’t recognize that as burnout until it was like way too late. I also I some of the little bit of the stuff that probably was more relevant to me was, it felt like I was not in alignment with my role. And that was because I was still an EA working as a and chief of staff up until about a year and a half ago. And then it was after we hired our EA at the end of 2017 where I was like, Okay, I felt like I could breathe a little bit. Which interestingly enough was also when I left, because I was like oh Adams gonna be in great hands. It’s time for me to go do something else. You know that that kind of thing. And then I did and then you know, Adam always said, Adam always likes to say like, when you’re in the struggle, you want the struggle to end. But then as soon as the ends you’re like, Man, I kind of missed the struggle on the challenge, right? Which is exactly what happened to me. So then, you know, I took like, 30 days off and it was a Fantastic, I mean, it was a vacation is really what need what needed to happen. I needed like some time off. We talked about that now like, okay, when people have been there for a really long time, let’s just give them a sabbatical or something. Yeah. And then, you know, it was about 30 days late. It wasn’t wasn’t even that it was like three weeks late. I was like, Okay, I’m so bored. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? I missed that struggle and that constant challenge and problem solving and helping build businesses and you know, being part of the leadership team. And so when I went back I was in alignment because I was I was so out of alignment because being an EA is actually not my gift. And it’s not actually where my strength lies. It’s much more in that strategic chief of staff role. And yes, I could have I could do both. And I could do both for a while. But that was part of the reason why I was burned out. And I often, I think that’s why a lot of people burnout is it’s not necessarily the hours because when you’re doing something you love and are in alignment, you’re in flow, it doesn’t really doesn’t matter how many hours you’re doing it, right. So for me, it was just being out of alignment, my natural behavior and my desire desires of where I wanted to be spending my time.
Jeremy Burrows 30:39
So going back when you when you went back, and since then, what have you What have you done to prevent the same thing from happening again?
Hallie Warner 30:50
Yeah, well, the biggest thing is that we have Amy who is our executive assistant, and I, you know, of course, would never want her to leave. But in the event that that ever happened, we would immediately rehire for that position. There’s an Adam and I have talked about that, like, there’s no way I will do that job and my job. Again, maybe for like a week or two. But that’s, that’s about it. So that’s one of it. And just, you know, making sure we’re constantly building a bench of talent so that, you know, people’s lives change, people move, you know, whatever, so that we always have somebody ready to go. That’s, that’s a big thing. And I am really making sure I paid attention to myself and my relationships. And I’m not just so focused on work, and that I don’t have my entire identity wrapped up in Adam Hergenrother’s, chief of staff, I’m also Hallie, and it’s okay, if I want to, you know, watch Game of Thrones or real housewives and, you know, read fiction, I don’t always have to be on all the time.
Jeremy Burrows 31:48
So, I’ve experienced the dehumanization aspect of being an assistant where people ask how you’re dealing, but then they really want to know how your boss is doing. And you just mentioned, you know, you’re, you’re not chief of staff. You’re also Hallie, how do you kind of balance that? And have you experienced that before? And was that part of your when when you burned out? Was that part of it? Potentially, the dehumanization of it?
Hallie Warner 32:16
Well, thankfully, that’s not actually been my experience, is the dehumanization, if anything, that was me putting that on myself. And in thinking that work was everything that was I mean, that was not imposed by anyone other than other than myself. And I know that that is other people’s experiences, that dehumanization, I don’t know if that’s Adam always did a really great job at this, or it really is just part of our overall culture that we actually talk about it the first hire that we tell any entrepreneur to make isn’t executive assistant, like we are, like in our company culture, and not just our company, but the greater like Keller Williams Realty community. It’s very, it’s often talked about, like how important that role is. So again, that hasn’t really necessarily been my experience. But I do know that that is an issue.
Jeremy Burrows 33:06
Well, that’s interesting, you said that it was self imposed. Because I think I haven’t, I haven’t thought about that too much. But that that’s totally real, like, you kind of take the human element out of it, because you’re so ingrained in the work, and you don’t take care of yourself and forget that you’re human too.
Hallie Warner 33:24
Yeah, yeah, there’s no one to blame for any of that, but but myself and not saying waving a white flag, or, you know, or saying any, like, I need to, I need to just do, you know, to unplug for a day, or whatever. And, you know, Adam always encouraged me to do that, and take to take time off, and are you getting your workouts in and whatever. And there was just like, this part of my brain that was like, I cannot do that I need to succeed, you know? So yeah, nobody to blame but myself on that.
Jeremy Burrows 33:54
So let’s close with what makes someone a leader, in your, in your mind, what is what makes someone a leader and I and, you know, the This podcast is called The Leader Assistant Podcast. So my aim is pretty clear. In that I believe that assistants are leaders, and it’s just a matter of how do they use and how do we use that influence that we do have for good? And how do we really step into that leadership role? So what do you think makes someone a leader and maybe specifically, what do you think makes an assistant a leader?
Hallie Warner 34:31
Yeah, I think I think the greatest form of leadership is influence and influential leadership. And there’s, I mean, you can do that no matter where you are at and where you are in an organization. And I think it’s, it’s developing that the confidence to you like assistants know what to do. They know what to say. They probably know a lot more than many different people in an organization, but sometimes it’s just not having the competence to say get orders step into that meeting. And I say just go for it. And because the chances of somebody saying no to you are slim, to none. And if anything, it’s just, it’s just showing up, it’s showing up and it’s doing the work. And it’s speaking up and taking on projects, volunteering for higher level responsibility, even if you don’t know if you can actually do it. Or if you’ve never done it before, it’s knowing that you can figure it out, because everything’s figured out double. So just just take those leaps get outside of your comfort zone, role model the behavior of a leader everyday when you show up. challenge other people’s thinking is a big part of influential leadership. So how can you challenge your executive seeking? Are you challenging your coworker not in a negative way, but challenger challenger, show a different side show a different perspective, getting people to change the way they think and the way they they perceive the world is one of the greatest things that you can do. And that’s all leadership.
Jeremy Burrows 36:05
Great. Well, thanks so much for being on the show. And where can we find you online? And how can we support what you’re doing?
Hallie Warner 36:13
I might be one of the few Hallie Warner is out there on social media. So it’s pretty easy to find them on, you know, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, just go find me, you should be able to find me pretty easily. If you’re interested in any of our upcoming training or events, you can go to AdamHergenrother.com/events. We do have a couple of things coming up. And then you can go to I mean, our book is on Amazon Founder and Force Multiplier. Yeah, those are probably the main places.
Jeremy Burrows 36:39
Great. Well, I’ll put all those links on the show notes as well, so people can more easily find you. Yes, thank you. Well, thanks again, for being here. And we’ll hopefully talk soon.
Hallie Warner 36:51
Yeah, thank you so much.
Jeremy Burrows 36:54
Thanks again for listening. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Hallie Warner, you can check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/17. Also, don’t forget to join our thriving and growing Facebook community at Facebook.leaderassistant.com. And lastly, take a minute to check out my assistant challenge. It’s a 30 day email challenge for assistants. Assistant challenge.com is where you can check it out. We’d love to have you join us
Podcast Outro 37:34
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