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  • feedwordpress 16:20:49 on 2018/08/16 Permalink
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    A Conversation with Joan 

    Over the past 20 years, I have attended several conferences ranging in topics from fiction writing to motivational to professional training and even a full weekend trying to become a more educated outdoor woman. Each conference offered a unique learning opportunity, but none of them provided the ideal balance of professional and personal development that last year’s conference did.

    The Conference for Administrative Excellence not only provided many educational moments with a variety of speakers, I was introduced to some amazing people in my field as well. The conference exceeded all of my expectations.

    How better to share the conference experience than a conversation with the creator herself – The professional, personable, and mentor to many, Joan Burge! I’m honored to have had the opportunity to ask Joan a few questions. Her answers are enlightening and encompass the experience that helps create one of the most respected conferences ever offered. I highly recommend reading them more than once (with a notepad!).

    There is a team behind the amazing conference event. From the first phone call to register for the conference to picking up my name tag, the entire team carried out the professionalism of Joan. I never imagined my experience and learning would stretch so far beyond those few amazing days in October last year. We have so many ways to learn from Joan; webinars, books, blog posts, etc., yet here I am with another amazing opportunity to know and learn even more!

    A Conversation with Joan

    Q: You’ve been a unique blend of experience as an assistant and now executive and business owner (with so much in between!). Can you share a mentorship opportunity you had as an assistant from another assistant and one or two takeaways from that opportunity?

    A: Believe it or not, most of my mentoring came from executives; not peers. I was fortunate to work with some amazing managers and executives who were happy to mentor me about business and how to be a business partner. I do remember one time when an executive assistant mentored me. I was hired by a large corporation in Cleveland, OH as a secretary. I got to work directly with the EA to the CEO of the company. She took me under her wing and taught me a great deal. She and I had a lot of opportunities to interact because of the work we did and my executives reporting up and we physically sat near each other.

    Q: As an assistant, what types of professional development opportunities did you learn from the most?

    A: Live classes were always the best vehicle for me to learn. I love what occurs when I am face-to-face with other attendees and my instructor. I also learn by doing not just reading or watching. My next favorite was attending administrative conferences although there were not many offered in my day, mostly IAAP (then PSI) conferences. My third was reading. I was an avid reader and still am to this day.

    Q: As a business owner and busy executive what top skills can an assistant bring that support you the most?

    A: You are going to be very surprised by my answers because they are not going to be the typical administrative skills most people would mention. So here is my list:

    * Resilience is critical in today’s busy office environment and constant change. An assistant must also be tough skinned when it comes to working with an executive and you have to be able to “take the heat” and not take things personally. You have to be tough enough to take on all the job responsibilities and support today’s executives who operate in a whirlwind on most days.

    * Thinking holistically. Often assistants are in the woods most of their day. They need to step back and look from the top of the forest. See how things connect and work together; see the big picture of what is really happening. This is not an easy skill as some people’s brains prefer to think details. so you may have to work at this one. The idea is to picture yourself in an airplane in the sky. The view is very different at 35,000 feet than when the plane is sitting on the ground.

    * Initiative is very important. Just jump in. Don’t wait to be asked or told what to do. But you have to listen and pay attention to your executive. Executives drop clues all the time about what they are thinking and what they might need.

    * Detailed thinking is really important for my assistant because my brain likes to think big picture and vision. It’s not that I don’t get to the details. Of course, I must do that for the work I do. Most high-level executives are focused on the big picture or they are thinking of the 50 things they must get done, but they aren’t necessarily thinking of every little detail related to the 50 things.

    * Be inquisitive. Ask questions? If your executive is meeting with a new client, ask questions about the expectation of that meeting? If your executive mentions a new project or talk force they will be working with, ask them to tell you more about the mission and the people. When your executive delegates projects or even talks about an upcoming trip, ask questions. Be curious. The idea is to get inside your executive’s head so you can be proactive and assist at a higher level. I have always said, the more you get inside your executive’s head, the better you can do your job.

    * Ability to change gears in a heartbeat. This is a must! We do not have the luxury of dragging our feet. The organizations I work with and the executives I interact with at large organizations are dealing with change minute by minute and their support staff needs to move fast. You can become change proficient. It is a skill you can learn just like any other skill. I have been teaching assistants to thrive on change for 28 years.

    Q: In Give Yourself Permission to Live the Big Life, you talk about the five pillars in great detail. You highlight taking care of yourself. What personal development and self-care tips do you recommend to assistants?

    A: #1. Make time for yourself. Notice I said, “make.” If you wait for someone to give you permission, it will never happen. Do something fun or relaxing during that time. Maybe go to the salon or spa. Or maybe go to lunch with a good friend. During the summer, I love to go to the Lifetime Athletic pool in Las Vegas, they have a gorgeous pool area. It is like a resort. I go on the weekend early morning, around 8:30 and hang out until right after lunch. I just chill. I put my air pods in, listen to music, go in the water, and people watch. Or just look at the beautiful blue sky and palm trees. It’s heaven.

    #2. Your Wellness Pillar is critical. Make time to work out whether at home or at a gym. Or take walks throughout the week. You must take care of your body so it will take care of you. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t get sick or have surgeries. In 2014 I had brain surgery (successful) and in 2015, I had open heart surgery (successful). My doctors told me I survived these two huge, life-threatening surgeries because I was in good shape and took care of myself. Please…. get your annual exams, make good choices with food, and keep your body moving. This does not mean I never eat ice cream or cookies! I do and I love red wine (which is very good for the body as long as it is limited). Also, your mental health is very important. You must also feed your mind with good thoughts.

    #3. Make sure you build a good network of friends and a support group. We cannot do life alone. I have all kinds of friends (professional and personal) who I can call on at any time. That is because, for years, I have reached out to others. I have been open to meeting people and getting to know them. In turn, they want to know me.

    #4.  Have fun!!! I know so many people who, as they chronologically age, they age in how they think and act. That is not me! I feel and think about 20 years younger than my age. I make an effort to stay “hip” by surrounding myself with younger people and talking to my children and grandchildren to learn about the latest music and trends. I go to live concerts with my girlfriends. Don’t get into a rut—that is for sure a death sentence.

    Q: What professional questions would you recommend an assistant ask an executive when starting a new position or working with a new executive?

    A: I would start out by asking about the big picture of the relationship. Ask questions such as, “How do you envision us working together? In a partnership?” “How can I best support you?”

    It is also good to ask, “What are the top 5 skills most important to you that an assistant should possess?”

    Next ask, “What are the top 3 things that drive you crazy?” Every executive knows the answer to this one and you want to know this up front, whether they are related to you or just in general.

    Then I would focus on the daily processes and get in agreement as to how you both will handle them such as daily huddles, travel, meetings, follow-up, and email. A great resource for this conversation is my Executives and Assistants Working in Partnership Guide as I mapped out the most common processes and best practices. It’s a great tool to create the conversation you need to have with a new executive. (You can purchase this Guide at www.OfficeDynamics.com).

    Q: Can you share one or two tips every executive and assistant could incorporate into their routines for better productivity and to build their professional relationship?

    A: The best advice I have practiced for 4 decades and have given executives and assistants it to have daily huddles. Daily huddles are to be done in person or via the phone (not text or email). This is where you actually talk to each other, confirm the day’s priorities and get clarification on what’s happening relative to your executive or yourself. Next is to really pay attention to each other throughout the day by getting a temperature check.

    Q: As an assistant how did you organize a typical day?

    A: My typical day was to first understand the top priorities for that day. Then I would do my best to stay on the top priorities during the day. As new requests came in, I would determine if they were more important than what I was currently working on and if not, they got put aside depending on if they were a B or C priority. I physically keep things organized. I didn’t have papers and such strewn all over my desk. I had need stacks or piles according to priority. If something did not need to be worked on in the next 72 hours, it went in my follow-up system. I didn’t give it a second thought until I pulled it up days’ later.

    I also kept very organized by taking copious notes. I jotted everything down whether on a post-it note or napkin. I knew I would not possibly remember everything that was thrown at me. I would go back through my notes and little papers throughout the day to ensure I didn’t miss anything that was a priority.

    Q: Please share a few of your favorite books with us.

    A: * The Compound Effect by Daren Hardy

    * How to be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life (I just read this book this spring as I was starting to work with Walt Disney World). This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. It is a story filled with inspiration, hardship and hundreds of great lessons ranging from leadership to being an animated communicator, selling your ideas, never giving up on your ideas, and much more. Every person in the business world needs to read this book.

    Q: What are a few ‘new’ technologies you use often?

    A: I actually do not use a lot of different technologies or apps. Sometimes there are just too many options and it can be overwhelming. And I find some of them do not make me more productive. Of course, I love my iPad (newer, bigger, lightweight screen with the keyboard by Apple); loving my AirPods (no wires!); iPhone. I use a few good apps special to my needs. I have an Alexa I use frequently.

    Q: What are a few processes or parts of your routine that have not changed throughout your career?

    A: I have tried and true processes that I have not changed because they really work! They are my:

    * Follow-up system. I still love the 43 hanging file system. It never fails me.

    * To Do tray on my desk which only holds items I must get done within 72 hours.

    * Prioritization method. I identify tasks and projects as A, B, and C. Within the A category, I have A1, A2, A3 and maybe A4.

    * Staying focused. I try my very best to stay focused on my task or conversation at hand.

    * Before I close up at the end of the day, I go back through my to-do items for the next day. I make sure I have them in the right priority order so I am ready to jump in the next morning.

    * I run through emails one more time at the end of the day to make sure I did not miss anything important and flag items I need to get back to early the next day.

    * Every day, I am a student. I pay attention to whatever crosses my path to see what I might pick up or add to my knowledge base or skill set.

    Q: Finally, during the annual conference there is an evening celebration. You have said how important that evening is to celebrate the uniqueness and how special the assistants are and I’m so looking forward to this year’s Glitz and Glam Gala! (I have my dress already)….For fun….Which themed celebration evening during the conference did you enjoy the most? Why?

    A: That is a tough question because the past several years we have had fabulous themes such as Havana nights and a Ghostly Gala. But if I have to choose, my favorite was about 8 or 9 years ago when we first starting holding Gala night. It was very much glamorous like this year’s theme. We had a red carpet for attendees and everyone dressed up. Our attendees loved getting glammed up because they rarely do that. We had Cirque performers that night, entertainment from the Strip (which we have every year), and an awards event. This year will certainly be as fabulous! We have some very special things planned for Gala since it is our 25th year anniversary.


    I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to get to know Joan better. I know I sure did!

    What question would you ask Joan?



    dana_buchananDana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

    You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager







    The post A Conversation with Joan appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 08:00:33 on 2018/08/16 Permalink
    Tags: , Culture, , , , , ,   

    This is What Happens When You Build a Successful Culture 

    Workplace culture and engagement seem to be at a definite ebb—64 percent of employees in a recent study felt they didn’t have a strong work culture and 49 percent were not satisfied with their supervisor. This low engagement results in a 33 percent decrease in operating income and an 11 percent decrease in earnings growth, according to a report by TruPath. Many organizations are falling short in providing their staff what they need to succeed in the workplace.

    Workplace culture may sound like a trendy concern, but don’t underestimate its importance. Culture sets the stage for success. It represents the things that bring people together as well as the things that distinguish them. It’s the culture of an organization that that is the strongest reflection of its shared values, whether they’re solidly pointed toward success or careering toward failure.

    As a leader, you build organizational culture through your actions:

    Create it. Great leaders build and drive great cultures. They know it is their number one priority. They know they cannot delegate the task—they must create and lead a culture of greatness. Leadership begins with the process of creation.

    Teach it. Too often, leaders don’t feel a need to keep their employees informed about what’s going on or show them how to succeed. Instead, they leave people to their own devices to figure it all out. If you want to have a successful culture, take the time to provide instruction and illustrations.

    Shape it. Cultures are constantly changing, and as a leader you must always be working to keep it in shape. A culture of greatness doesn’t happen by accident. It comes about when a leader expects greatness and each person in the organization builds it, lives it, values it, reinforces it and fights for it.

    Humanize it. People are at the center of every effective organizational culture. You can implement all kinds of processes and procedures, you can set up mental models and theory-driven systems, but at the end of the day if your culture isn’t humanized you’re missing the mark.

    Support it. Cultures that thrive have the support of the organization’s leadership in addition to that of ambassadors throughout the organization who believe in what is being accomplished. No culture can succeed without widespread buy-in and support.

    Trust it. If you trust your vision and direction and take ownership of them, others will trust and take responsibility themselves. When everyone holds themselves accountable, you have an organization based on trust—and trust is the cornerstone of any healthy culture.

    Respect it. The undercurrent of any sound organizational culture must be one of respect. People who respect one another behave with courtesy and civility.

    Live it. Too often leaders talk about what’s required for the team to be successful but fail to hold themselves to the same standard. Leaders who truly live their values can expect those values to spread into every level of the organization. The best company cultures are built on a set of core values  that every leader and employee knows and lives out.

    Appreciate it. Regardless of what sort of culture you want for your company, there has to be an element of appreciation and recognition for others. Recognition means people care about each other and are invested in each other’s success. They recognize and appreciate diversity.

    Embrace it. Embrace your organization’s culture by engaging in behaviors that support it. Too often, leaders focus on what’s not going right, which creates more of the same. Instead of placing attention on what’s wrong, focus on what’s right.

    Your organization’s culture is a reflection of its values. It is the voice of your business, and it takes you and each member of your team to ensure its success.

    Lead from within: When you provide an environment in which people enjoy spending time, they will not only do their job but will outperform themselves every day.


    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: iStock Photos

    The post This is What Happens When You Build a Successful Culture appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 08:00:35 on 2018/08/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , Impostor Syndrome, , , , , , , ,   

    5 Easy Ways to Escape The Impostor Syndrome Trap  

    Imposter syndrome is a common psychological phenomenon in which you feel that you’re the only person in the group who doesn’t have it together. You feel you don’t deserve the good things that have come your way. And the more others recognize your achievements, the more you feel like a fake. You’re basically always looking over your shoulder and waiting to be called out as a fraud.

    In my research as an executive leadership coach, I have found that 99 percent of all high-achieving individual suffer from some degree of imposter syndrome—that means you and I and many of the people we know all suffer from this syndrome. So how do we escape the trap of the imposter syndrome? It’s largely a matter of five simple steps:

    1. Recognize that the syndrome exists. The first thing you have to do is recognize that imposter syndrome actually exists. With acknowledgement comes awareness and with awareness comes the power to manage your own thoughts. Remember, it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not that keeps you from success. Feeling like an impostor at times is, for many of us, a natural side effect of learning the ropes and gaining expertise.

    2. Acknowledge your capabilities. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we don’t know that we forget we’re actually more capable and more competent than we think. Our skills are strengths that can take us wherever we go through whatever we do. We just have to acknowledge them, own them and allow them to carry us when we feel insecure and filled with self-doubt.

    3. Be proud of your accomplishments. Take ownership of your accomplishments—each and every one qualifies you to own your success. Take your accomplishments and truly experience them, learn from them, absorb as much as you can from them. Prepare yourself for your own greatness by keeping your mind conditioned to accomplish more. To own your accomplishments with pride is the one of the bravest and best things you can do when you’re feeling insecure or doubtful.

    4. Remember that perfection isn’t real. Recognize that the perfection doesn’t exist— problems will arise and you’ll make mistakes. It’s not perfection but doing your best in your challenges that gives you the confidence you need to feel assured in your achievements. When you expect perfection, you tend to overlook your own strengths. Those who try to appear perfect will eventually mess up, the confident will feel insecure and the informed will second-guess themselves. That’s the nature of an imperfect life.

    5. Stop comparing yourself to others. One of the greatest accomplishments in life is learning to resist comparing yourself to others, because that’s a war you can never win. There always will be someone who is smarter, better or even more successful, but that shouldn’t be your concern. The true measure of success comes within yourself. How do you measure up against who you are and what you want to do?

    At the end of the day, we must learn to value ourselves, which means we must tell ourselves that we are good enough, smart enough, capable enough. And if we have to learn something new we will, because what we do in life ultimately comes out of who we believe we are.

    Lead from within: Our confidence comes from doing what we do best. The only thing that can bring us down is allowing our own insecurities to keep us stuck.


    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: iStock Photos

    The post 5 Easy Ways to Escape The Impostor Syndrome Trap  appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

  • feedwordpress 16:03:57 on 2018/08/09 Permalink

    Joan’s 5 Favorite Inspirational Quotes 

    Merriam-Webster defines inspiration as “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.” But what does inspiration mean to you? Where do you draw it from? What triggers your emotions and intellect to dig deep and keep going?

    Joan Burge, Founder and CEO of Office Dynamics International, has been inspiring and motivating those inside and outside of the Administrative/Executive Assistant field for over 30 years but where does Joan draw some of her inspiration from?

    Here are Joan’s 5 Favorite Inspirational Quotes. What are some quotes that you refer to for inspiration? Please feel free to share and inspire others!





    August 14, 2018

    10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PT

    The post Joan’s 5 Favorite Inspirational Quotes appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 08:00:20 on 2018/08/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    How to Manage Up When You Have A Bad Boss  

    A recent Gallup poll found that half the people who leave their jobs do so not because they are working for a bad company but because they are working for a bad boss.

    If you’re trying to deal with a bad boss, you can at least take some comfort in the knowledge that you’re not alone. They’re seemingly everywhere.

    Many people will think that they have to resign or disengage at work to survive a bad boss, but you have other options.

    Many of them involve some element of managing up—finding ways for you and your team to be successful in spite of your boss.

    It may be difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll stand to gain valuable skills that will help you when the day comes that you’re the boss, and your reputation for excellence and integrity will benefit from the contrast to your boss.

    Here are some tips to help you manage up without your boss even realizing it:

    Keep your priorities straight. It’s easy to lose track of your priorities in times of challenge and discomfort. Whatever the circumstances, make sure carrying out your job to the best of your ability is firmly at the top of your list. Make excellence your main weapon; never give your boss an advantage by complaining or making a fuss. Remember that part of your job is to make your boss look good. You don’t have to like who you work for, but you can still take pride in your professionalism and the quality of your work.

    Make yourself invaluable. Work to become as valuable as possible to your boss, your team, and your organization. Think of ways to be supportive and take the initiative to help your boss where they struggle. Always look for opportunities to add value and demonstrate your effectiveness.

    Never kiss up. The worst thing you can do around someone who’s manipulative is fake an attitude or perspective. Managing up is very different than kissing up. Flattering your boss or attempting to sugarcoat the situation is rarely perceived as genuine. Most people can tell when they’re being manipulated, and disingenuous behavior can backfire however nice you are. Be respectful, be kind—and most of all, be professional and never say anything negative about your boss, even to your most trusted workplace allies.

    When they go low, you go high. When your boss exhibits behaviors and attitudes that cross the line, stay on the high road. Lead by example, show up with integrity, with clear boundaries, with character and with the determination not to let anyone break you down. Skills may give you power, but your character will earn you respect.

    Understand their triggers. Triggers are the factors that influence emotional reactions, whether they’re positive or negative. The more awareness and understanding you hold of your boss’s triggers, the better you’re prepared to react effectively based on your desired outcomes. Don’t allow your boss’s triggers, or anyone’s, for that matter, to hijack your intentions and purpose. Remember that however challenging the relationship may be, it isn’t about you.

    Lead from within: Always work to impress your boss and skillfully neutralize your own inner demons. This is how you manage up with a bad boss and build your influence and reputation at work.


    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: iStockPhotos

    The post How to Manage Up When You Have A Bad Boss  appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

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