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7 things I learned from my boss, the Ambassador

1) Empty your Inbox  and reply to ALL e-mails everyday

The Ambassador set the example well and would stay in his office as long as he needed (sometimes even until midnight) so that he could accomplish this. Having a blackberry glued to him 24 hours a day helped him accomplish that as well. He used the technology tools available to make sure that when he went home at the end of the day, he had dealt with most

2) Don’t let papers pile up

His desk was almost always spotless, even the drawers were practically empty. He kept his desk as clutter free as possible and focused on one thing at a time. This also meant that my desk got most of his files dumped on, but I quickly learned to sort through the seemingly unending piles and decide what to archive, what to follow up on, what to delegate and what to shred.

3) Do more than what is expected of you

Many times he asked me to go “far beyond his call of duty” to give excellent service on his behalf. If he thought there might be a chance to “do more”, he always asked his staff to strive for it. He got calls from people from all walks of life, from an unemployed high school dropouts to Presidential candidates and he made it a point to take each and every call. He never once refused to talk to somebody, and like I mentioned before, he would try to help all those who he crossed paths with.

4) Include time in your life for things you enjoy

Book some time in your schedule to do things you enjoy and help you grow. He was the one that motivated me to exercise more and ever since I worked for him I try to find time in my life to “recalibrate”.

5) Be as specific as possible

Don’t accept vague answers, don’t assign responsibilities vaguely either. The more specific the goal setting of objectives is, the better the chance of the diplomats and staff to clearly understand what was required of them and therefore could deliver the results expected of them.

6) Keep things in perspective

Enjoy work and take pride in a job well done but don’t take things too seriously. No one is going to die if you are having an “off” day. It’s ok to crack a joke, laugh at yourself and enjoy the time spent in the office.

7) Cultivate relationships

Stay in touch and continue to cultivate relationships. The Ambassador would always remember the birthdays of his close friends, staff and contacts and congratulate them on their birthdays. He would do this for all levels within the Embassy, and not just the top tier of diplomats.  He left the Embassy of Mexico in Canada over two years ago but still contacts many of the people that worked for him to congratulate them on their birthdays. Isn’t that sweet?

It was an honour and a pleasure to work so closely with Ambassador Emilio Goicoechea. I learned many other things from him, but the ones I mention above are the ones that I notice I have integrated into my own personal work ethic. Thanks boss!

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