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  • feedwordpress 17:15:00 on 2020/01/22 Permalink

    Office Dynamics International Celebrates 30 Years of Inspiring Administrative Excellence 

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    To Our Clients and Colleagues:

    30 years is a long time to sustain and build a business in a very unique niche . . . one that I created . . . administrative training and development. There have been many ups and downs over the years but I would not have chosen any other path. To this day, I am passionate as ever about championing assistants, pushing them to be their very best, and teaching both assistants and their executives to build strategic partnerships. In my video, I share with you what prompted me to start the company.

    This industry has come a long way since 1990 when administrative-specific training was unheard of. Now, organizations and executives are investing in their assistants and more assistants are investing in their own education. There is a sea of information available today and more people getting into the administrative training business—but all are not equal.

    Office Dynamics is proud to be the trailblazer in offering a wide range of in-depth educational courses, conferences, online training, webinars, books, and resources for administrative professionals. Our offerings have grown over the years because of your requests and valuable feedback. I am grateful to all of you who challenged me to customize programs that would meet your specific needs for developing your assistants—whether a “boot camp” for novices or a 2-day conference to host within your organization.

    Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey. We would not be here today if it weren’t for all you wonderful people. This includes assistants, executives, CEOs, Human Resources professionals, and Learning & Development professionals. We are honored to serve you.

    Thank you for continuing to make us your #1 go-to source for administrative and executive training and coaching needs.


    The post Office Dynamics International Celebrates 30 Years of Inspiring Administrative Excellence appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 21:39:58 on 2020/01/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    The Vanishing Executive Assistant—NOT! 

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    I would like to address the recent article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on January 18, 2020 by Rachel Feintzeig regarding The Vanishing Executive Assistant.

    First, I have been entrenched in the administrative profession for 50 years. I worked in the profession for 20 years before starting Office Dynamics in 1990. Office Dynamics specifically focuses on training and development for administrative professionals of all levels. I have written 5 books for assistants, educated 300,000+ assistants, have worked with 70+ Fortune 500 companies, and coached 300+ executive/assistant teams.

    The article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is showing a small piece of what is transpiring in the profession. I am happy this article got published because it demonstrates the flaws in how people think about the administrative profession and how companies are overlooking these vital contributors.

    The writer immediately points out that technology and automation have chipped away at duties like papers to be filed and landlines to be answered. Yes, thank goodness for that because assistants have brainpower that goes way beyond those basic duties. And yet assistants help file digital documents and manage calls through their cell phones, so the skills required for these tasks haven’t completely gone away.

    Next, the article says that new generation leaders are content to schedule their meetings and book flights. The issue with this is that leaders should not be doing so. They are not paid the big bucks to manage a calendar and book flights. Leaders are hired to impact the bottom line, build strategic plans, and lead people. On top of that, these leaders don’t do a very good job of managing their schedules because they don’t have time to look at their calendar from a holistic perspective. A great executive assistant looks at the entire calendar for a month—what happened last week? What is going on this week? What types of meetings are scheduled—are they high level with stakeholders? Which meetings can get canceled and which meetings absolutely must take place? What is coming up on the calendar for the next three weeks? Managing a calendar takes brains; it should not be done on autopilot.

    Regarding the big reduction in positions mentioned:

    1. According to federal data, 1.6 million secretarial and administrative assistants’ jobs have been eliminated. I am curious if this data is accurate because there are over 40 titles today for the administrative profession. They range from administrative coordinator, department coordinator, marketing assistant to executive business partner.
    2. Of course, the numbers have gone way down because of technology which led to companies thinking “Let’s have an assistant support more than one person.” The problem is some companies have gone too far by expecting one assistant to support a group of 30 or 40. This really does not give the assistant an opportunity to be a true assistant.

    Often referred to as a dying breed, let me explain.

    • What is dying is the way the work is being done
    • What is dying are the old stereotypes
    • What is dying is the boxed job description that limited secretaries from their full potential
    • What is dying is being the office mom

    Thank goodness!

    This is a very exciting time for the administrative professional. Their role is expansive. Executives want strategic business partners, which by the way, was acknowledged 20 years ago and now is being referred to more than ever. Executive assistants are running meetings, making hiring decisions, giving presentations, negotiating contracts, managing budgets and are considered co-leaders.

    Regarding the assistants referred to in the article who are 50 and older having difficulties finding jobs. I have read and agree that ageism exists in the workplace. Yet, I personally know several assistants in their 60s and 70s who are landing very good jobs. In fact, one executive assistant I know landed the best job of her career at the age of 70! She received the biggest salary of her lifetime with all kinds of perks. She is living it up. I can attest, though, that this executive assistant has never stopped learning, growing, and staying fresh. She attended many of our live workshops and assembled a powerful career portfolio. This executive assistant updated her look and has stayed on the cutting edge.

    One reason why assistants might have difficulty finding a new job later in their life is they aren’t looking at all the skills they utilized during their administrative career. They are solely looking at the titles they had and so are the potential employers. The executive assistant should look at the skills utilized during their career and market those instead, such as managing projects with competing deadlines, prioritizing multiple tasks and schedules, executing corporate plans, effectively communicating directives, implementing their executive’s plan, developing processes, planning events and the list goes on and on. Many of the skills I learned as an executive assistant gave me a strong foundation when I started my training business and have carried me through leading a global company for 30 years.

    In reference to assistants not having time to bond or create relationships with their executives, that is true. They are managing a lot of moving pieces. Yet everyone in the workplace has gotten away from something that is critical to building rapport and creating long-lasting relationships. It’s what I refer to as “Human Moments.” Automation and technology are good to a point but is also destroying families, relationships, communities, and marriages.

    I talk with thousands of assistants and managers who think they are communicating with each other because they text or email each other all day. This is not communicating. When an executive and assistant have a daily huddle in person or on the telephone they have opportunities to clarify what they are saying, build context around a task (like scheduling a meeting); they can forecast what’s on the horizon and anticipate obstacles.

    I am disappointed that the writer did not interview more companies. Her article mainly focuses on the Ernst & Young model, which is to hire younger people with college degrees, pay them half as much while supporting more people. This implies that being an executive assistant does not take brains and that simply is not true. Today’s assistant is a cognitive being. While there are some assistants who only take orders and do the tasks, they really don’t understand the scope of this role.

    I have worked with these young college people and they are wonderful. They are enthusiastic, engaged, and tech-savvy. But they don’t know how to be an executive’s business partner, nor do they understand business protocol. In 2019, I was hired by a large financial firm in San Francisco to develop and facilitate a boot camp for 5 young assistants with college degrees. I asked the executive, “Why are you requiring college degrees for your executive assistant positions?” The executive responded, “Because the kids coming out of high school today just aren’t at the knowledge level that we used to see.”

    Several former assistants at Ernst & Young say they had an inkling their roles might be in jeopardy when the firm required them to pass a series of tests on PowerPoint and Excel. Being an excellent assistant is not just about PowerPoint and Excel. This is a huge misconception that society has embraced and projected. Being an executive assistant is a high touch job. Our company, Office Dynamics, focuses on developing interpersonal skills. For 30 years our research with executives, HR, T&D, and assistants continues to place interpersonal skills and the fundamentals at the top of the desired list.

    If a company only thinks a good assistant is someone with great technical skills, they are completely missing the boat and it is no wonder they are eliminating their administrative positions. They clearly do not understand what this role entails and it is a shame because there is this fantastic group of individuals who are eager to support the management team. Not “just anyone” can be an executive assistant.

    “Helping run executives’ lives—have faded away.” Yes and no. I know several executive assistants who are on call 24/7. They choose to have this role. It is their life mission and passion to support their CEO in running a business and managing their life. I have been on both sides of the desk, remember? 20 years as an assistant and 30 years as a CEO. Believe me, there are many things I do not want to do that my executive assistant is quite capable of handling. I want to focus on what I do best.

    McKinsey Global Institute said up to 10 million women across 6 mature economies will switch roles by 2030 as office support jobs disappear. If companies do the right thing and see the executive assistant’s role as they should, they will not eliminate so many positions. As many assistants leave the profession, new ones are joining every day. These young assistants are savvy, hungry, and want to help move an organization forward.

    The WSJ article stated that Dana Muldrow said she has embraced life without an admin but admitted she felt unsure what tasks to assign her. This is another area that needs to change. Managers and executives don’t know what to delegate or how to work with an assistant. It isn’t the assistant’s fault that their talents aren’t being utilized. This is also why my company has been teaching executives for 30 years how to maximize the time and talents of their assistants.

    I wish that Rachel would have included stories about the amazing companies who are creating career paths for their administrative community, purposely recruiting graduates to come into the profession, training and developing their assistants, and even implementing succession planning. This is because when a C-Suite executive needs to replace or add an assistant, they don’t have time for someone to get up to speed. They need an assistant who can jump in, take the reins, and be their business partner.

    Higher demands are being placed on executive assistants to expand their skills and develop business acumen, leadership, executive presence, problem-solving, and strategic planning. UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business is now offering a program for executive assistants that mirrors their executive leadership program. The cost is about $30,000.

    There is an amazing Admin Awards program now for assistants. It is referred to as the Academy Awards for Admins and is held in 5 cities. Southwest Airlines is a major sponsor.

    As of today, on LinkedIn these are the stats for titles related to this profession:

    • Administrative Assistant – 9,905,134
    • Executive Assistant – 5,765,649
    • Administrative Professional – 4,395,025 results

    That is almost 20,000 Million in the profession and that doesn’t include everyone. That is a pretty impressive number.

    Titles will change and so will responsibilities. The numbers may or may not continue to decrease. But one thing I know for certain is that there will always be executives who need an administrative business partner. And there will always be individuals who will thrive and make this their Career of Choice.

    Please feel free to leave comments below and be sure to share this to spread the good news about the administrative profession.

    Joan Burge

    January 21, 2020



    The post The Vanishing Executive Assistant—NOT! appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:07 on 2020/01/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Mentoring, , , Struggling Employee, , ,   

    How to Coach a Struggling Employee  

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    As a leader, you’re charged with looking after all the employees on your team—the ones who are doing well and the ones who are struggling. Most leaders are drawn to those who already excel at their job—it’s always gratifying to help a gifted colleague move ahead—but some of your most important work will be with those who are struggling.

    Here are some steps to take when an employee is underperforming or experiencing problems at work:

    identify the issue. Before you can come up with a plan for improvement, you need to back up and discover the root cause of the problem. When you do, you can understand the context of what’s happening and work together to develop solutions that will work over the long haul.

    Communicate clearly. Telling someone they aren’t meeting expectations is bound to be an uncomfortable conversation. You can couch it in a positive light by remembering that as their leader, you’re responsible for their success, and you’re offering candid feedback to help them improve and become more self-aware.

    Focus on facts. Getting negative feedback is never easy for anyone; people often take it personally and react defensively. To help prevent those reactions, focus on the facts by giving clear examples of times when the employee failed to meet the requirements of the job. Explain how these behaviors affect not just the rest of the team but also the employee’s own future—including promotions, recognition, raises or bonuses, and job security. Be compassionate and stay as positive as possible.

    Work on a solution together. Don’t tell your struggling employee, “This is how it’s going to be.” Instead, work with them to come up with a solution together. Giving your employee a chance to take ownership of the situation is empowering and provides extra motivation for improvement.

    Keep expectations clear. Make sure the employee understands what’s expected in the future. This step may take the form of a structured performance improvement plan that sets out what must change for the employee to remain part of the organization.

    Praise efforts. Behavior responds to encouragement and rewards. It is important to give praise and recognition for the efforts the employee puts in as they work to move in the right direction. If the employee is improving, let them know their hard work is not going unnoticed.

    Hire a coach. Many leaders have coaches themselves, and they know how useful a coaching relationship can be—especially one that brings in a point of view from outside the organization. A good coach can help the employee process situations from the past week to work toward better results in the future.

    Follow up. Once you’ve formulated a plan, create a schedule for regular follow-ups to assess the employee’s progress and address any challenges that may have come up.

    Lead from within: Great leadership is having the ability to facilitate movement in the needed direction and have people feel good about it, so that even a struggling employee can feel empowered.


    #1 N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    The Leadership Gap
    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:


    The post How to Coach a Struggling Employee  appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 16:00:00 on 2020/01/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , ,   

    Be a Trailblazing Assistant 

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    Your office environment is a mix of workers and trailblazers, and the two have nothing to do with titles. Workers tend to know their job and only their job. They work with their heads down. They show up but show little interest in understanding the business as a whole and working to further the vision of the organization. They may be really good at what they do, but the overall value they bring to the company is lacking because they’re not part of the bigger picture.

    Assistants who are trailblazers are valuable team members who understand the business, work for its best interest, and strive to succeed in every interaction and every project. They ingrain themselves into the culture of the company. They are constantly willing to go above and beyond to work for the best interest of the company. These assistants are the team members who elevate to a higher level and are invited to become members of the executive team. They truly serve as value-added partners. That means they never work on autopilot. They are constantly awake, aware, and engaged at work. Because of the way they work, they are able to consistently provide benefit to the organization. Here are some great ways you can show you are a team member who can add value:

    Demonstrate discipline.

    It can be easy to get distracted at work, especially for those assistants who work in an open office space. You may become bogged down in unimportant tasks and overlook critical ones. Don’t let that happen! Work with focus and discipline.

    Streamline your job.

    Always strive to develop innovative and effective ways to accomplish tasks and assignments. Doing something one way simply because you’ve always done it that way means you’re not working to improve. Take some time to think about each task you do and see if you can improve the process. The goal should be efficiency and effectiveness.

    Understand your company’s brand and always work to further it.

    As an assistant, you are in a prime position to do so. Demonstrating that you’ve taken the time to become familiar with the objectives of your company and that you know how to contribute to its betterment will truly set you ahead of the pack.

    It’s time to ask yourself a question: Am I a worker or a trailblazer? If you’re ready to blaze your own trail, look at Joan’s newest eBook, Earning Your Place on the Executive Team.

    The post Be a Trailblazing Assistant appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 09:00:38 on 2020/01/16 Permalink
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    The Best Ways to Show Care To The People On Your Team 

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    Studies confirm what common sense tells us: people who are feel cared for at work are more engaged and effective. They’re happier, more positive and productive, and less likely to leave. Caring for the people who report to you doesn’t just make you a better boss—it has a positive effect on your entire organization, including the bottom line.

    Here are some proven ways to show you care:

    Be accepting. When people tell you something, they’re often looking for understanding instead of answers. Try to listen without judging. Open your mind and make hearing their point of view your only goal, then let them know they were heard by repeating and summarizing what was said. Don’t offer advice or solutions unless you’re sure they want to hear them.

    Be interested. Without being intrusive, make a point of talking with people on your team about things in their life that aren’t related to work. Get to know their hobbies and interests, the things they’re passionate about, how they like to spend their time. There’s a good chance that you’ll discover some points of connection.

    Be a good listener. Too many bosses are marginal listeners. They may be action oriented, impatient or rushed, but they’re more apt to cut someone off mid-sentence or finish their thought for them than to truly listen. Whatever the reason, they come off as cold and uncaring. Always take the time to listen to your people.

    Keep people informed. An important part of leadership is sharing the information people need to do their job well, to understand what’s happening in the organization and industry, and to maintain a broad perspective on the work their doing and its purpose. People who are well-informed feel valued.

    Express concern. When someone comes to you with a problem, show sincere concern. Offer any assistance that’s appropriate, but make sure when you do you’re not taking over, stepping on their autonomy or questioning their ability to solve the problem themselves.

    Show your appreciation. People work hard, and one of the best ways to show them you care is by simply expressing appreciation for the things they do. Whether it takes the form of a big celebration, a public shout-out, a personal note or even a quick “way to go” in the hallway, let people know you value their contribution to the team.

    Provide opportunities. Finding new opportunities for your direct reports to grow and learn is a great way to show them that you have their back. Set up lunch-and-learn sessions, provide professional memberships and development opportunities, and pair people up for cross-training in a new area they’d like to learn more about.

    Exhibit trust. Showing trust in your direct reports means you respect them and have faith in their judgment and work without micromanaging.

    Lead from within: If you want to show the people on your team you care, make sure you are the best leader you can be and that those who report to you have everything they need to be successful.

    #1 N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

    The Leadership Gap
    What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

    After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

    buy now


    Additional Reading you might enjoy:


    Photo Credit: istockphoto

    The post The Best Ways to Show Care To The People On Your Team appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

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