How to Build Business Acumen as an Executive Assistant and Become a Force to Reckon With

Personal Development & Career Growth
January 11, 2024

In the ever-changing world of tech, staying in tune with the latest trends and advancements is crucial. Possessing a robust business acumen not only makes you an indispensable gem to your organization, but also distinguishes you from the crowd. Today, we'll delve into practical steps you can take to nurture your business acumen as an executive assistant.

Step 1: Read, Read, Read!

Knowledge is power, my friends. To excel as an executive assistant, you need to familiarize yourself with industry news, trends, and insights. Subscribe to relevant newsletters, follow industry experts on social media, and keep tabs on your company's competitors. Websites like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Harvard Business Review are great starting points for general business knowledge. For industry-specific information, seek out trade publications and join online forums where professionals in your field congregate. Remember, the more you read, the better you'll understand your industry's landscape.

<<Add here now take the global view and apply it to what is happening inside your company and how are things changing for your exec. Example: you support a CRO and ChatGPT is changing how you address customer success - will this lead to optimization and integration of AI to reduce time needed to execute a customer request? How will this impact the growth or reduction of workforce on the team?>>

Read team emails, and better understand business initiatives and how teams are effected in different ways example: ELT has deprioritized an product launch in order to tackle a major issue that has arised - clearly the team working on that will be upset and will want fast communication from CEO or business leadership, now you know what to prioritize of your execs time.

Step 2: Analyze and Synthesize

Now that you've gathered information, it's time to analyze and synthesize it. As an executive assistant, you should be able to identify patterns, trends, and potential problems in your industry and at the company level. To do this, you need to develop critical thinking skills, which will help you connect the dots and make sense of complex information.

To enhance your critical thinking, create a habit of summarizing what you've read and identifying the key takeaways. This exercise will help you retain the information and improve your ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively.

Step 3: Document Your Insights

One of the best ways to solidify your business acumen is to document your insights and opinions. Start a blog, create a LinkedIn post, or simply jot down your thoughts in a personal journal. Documenting your perspectives not only helps you remember what you've learned but also showcases your expertise to others.

Step 4: Network and Learn from Others

Executive assistants often have the unique opportunity to interact with various departments and professionals within their organization. Take advantage of this by attending company events, workshops, and conferences. Ask questions and learn from your colleagues, especially those in different roles or departments. Networking with professionals outside your company can also help you gain valuable insights and broaden your perspective.

Additionally, when something new is rolled out at your company that you don’t quite understand, go find the engineer or product manager who can help break things down in a laymans terms so you better understand the broader view. When Twitter acquired Gnip, I didn’t quite understand the implications for our business and how data would become a foot hold for us not only on servicing clients like the New York Times, or Coca Cola but also how data would become one of the largest pieces of our revenue business amassing over 1B in the past 6-7 years. I immediately spent time with the acquired team to understand the integration and how we were working this into our business model.

Step 5: Apply Your Knowledge

As an executive assistant, your primary role is to support your executive and help them achieve their goals. This often involves problem-solving, strategic thinking, and project management. Use your newfound business acumen to identify areas where you can contribute more effectively. For example, you might use your industry knowledge to suggest more efficient processes, assist in decision-making, or even identify potential business opportunities. Experimentation is also welcome here - don’t be afraid to try new things! As ChatGPT is effecting so many areas of business right now some of the best EAs in the Mafia are trying new ways to create efficiencies leveraging this new way of....

Some examples are as simple as:

  • ghost writing thank you notes from the CEO to team members for working extra hard on launching a product
  • identifying company anniversaries and kicking out personalized notes with gifting

Step 6: Seek Opportunities for Growth

Cautionary tale:One of the best ways to develop your business acumen is through hands-on experience. Look for opportunities to take on additional responsibilities, work on projects outside your comfort zone, or even volunteer for cross-functional teams. By actively participating in various aspects of your organization, you'll gain invaluable experience and insights that will further strengthen your business acumen.

Step 7: Stay Curious and Keep Learning

Finally, never stop learning. The business world is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date is crucial for your professional growth. Attend webinars, take online courses, and read books on topics related to your industry or role. As an executive assistant, it's important to develop a well-rounded skillset and knowledge base, so don't shy away from exploring new areas or concepts.


Building your business acumen as an executive assistant may seem like a daunting task, but with a proactive approach and a commitment to continuous learning, you can develop a deep understanding of your industry and become an indispensable asset to your organization. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you'll be well on your way to becoming an executive assistant with an exceptional level of business acumen.

Keep in mind, embarking on your path to becoming a powerhouse in your role starts with that very first step. Stay eager, face challenges head-on, and always be open to learning more. As you sharpen your business acumen, you'll discover new avenues for growth and triumph in your career. So, let's get out there and make our mark in the business world, my fabulous executive assistant friends!

Do you have any personal tips or experiences on developing business acumen as an executive assistant? I'd absolutely love to hear your thoughts and stories, so don't hesitate to share them in the comments below! And, as always, keep shining bright! 💖

With love,


Additional Resources:

Suggested Individuals to follow on Twitter to brush up on Business Acumen:


Below is an extensive list of resources that can help you develop your business acumen and support each of the steps mentioned earlier:

  1. General Business Knowledge:
  2. The Wall Street Journal:
  3. Forbes:
  4. Harvard Business Review:
  5. The Economist:
  6. Financial Times:
  7. Bloomberg:
  8. Business Insider:
  9. Industry-Specific Publications:
  10. TechCrunch: (Technology)
  11. AdWeek: (Advertising)
  12. Fast Company: (Innovation)
  13. Hospitality Net: (Hospitality)
  14. Healthcare Dive: (Healthcare)
  15. Supply Chain Dive: (Supply Chain Management)
  16. Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills:
  17. Coursera's Critical Thinking Courses:
  18. edX's Critical Thinking Courses:
  19. MindTools' Critical Thinking section:
  20. Documenting Your Insights:
  21. WordPress: (Blogging platform)
  22. LinkedIn: (Professional networking and content sharing)
  23. Medium: (Blogging platform)
  24. Networking and Learning from Others:
  25. Meetup: (Find local networking events)
  26. Eventbrite: (Discover conferences and workshops)
  27. LinkedIn Groups: (Join industry-specific groups)
  28. Quora: (Ask questions and learn from industry professionals)
  29. Online Learning Platforms:
  30. Coursera:
  31. edX:
  32. Udemy:
  33. LinkedIn Learning:
  34. Skillshare:
  35. FutureLearn:
  36. Books on Business Acumen and Related Topics:
  37. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins
  38. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
  39. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey
  40. "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman
  41. "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber
  42. "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni
  43. "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen

These resources should help you on your journey to develop your business acumen and become a successful executive assistant. Remember to stay curious and keep learning!