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  • feedwordpress 15:15:34 on 2019/06/06 Permalink
    Tags: , creativity, ,   

    5 Must-Have Skills for Progressive Assistants From Joan’s book, Who Took My Pen… Again? 

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    You are a top-performing, high-achieving administrative assistant who has accomplished much. You have the fundamentals down pat and even demonstrate advanced skill sets. So where do you go from here? What might be missing from your bag of skills? Here are 5 areas that are sure to challenge you:


    • Accountability is about being responsible, being present.
    • We are accountable to each other and to ourselves. Even if no one is watching over your shoulder or your executive travels 90% of the time, you have to answer to yourself. When you don’t follow through—not doing your job—the department or group you support falls apart.
    • Being an accountable person means you know this life is no dress rehearsal! This is a one-shot life and you are giving it your all, every day.

    Why is accountability important?

    • Credibility—your reputation is on the line.
      • Your executives need to know that even though things shift, change, plummet, switch up or fall apart, you are the glue that will hold it together.
      • Credibility means never cutting corners. No shirking duties.


    • Whatever you talk about, you need to demonstrate.
    • Meet deadlines.
    • Be diligent.
    • Don’t make excuses.

    Change Agent

    A change agent:

    • Is someone who adds value by strategically thinking about what has always been done.
    • Adds new thought and wisdom to mundane or critical tasks.
    • Solves problems and improves the world, one day at a time.
    • Has the courage to see things that are and know they could be better.


    • Be a peacekeeper.
    • Accept fresh, new ideas.
    • Present new ideas.
    • Teach yourself to think “yes” instead of “no” when listening to others’ ideas.

    Creative Thinking

    There are numerous applications for using creativity in the workplace:

    • Improve communication.
    • Become more organized.
    • Build stronger teams.
    • Reduce costs.
    • Make a better decision.
    • Conquer the challenge of change.


    • Get comfortable with not thinking status quo.
    • Quit looking for the perfect answer.
    • Put your ego aside and quit worrying that other adults are going to think you are silly or frivolous.
    • Place a picture by your desk that speaks to your creative side.

    Decision – Making

    • Decisions are made daily, often without even realizing it.
    • Decision making is key for productivity and growth.


    • Understand the objectives and situation surrounding the issue.
    • Educate yourself on your leader’s decision-making style.
    • Consider potential blind spots and biases you may have. What areas are you ignorant about?
    • Generate possible solutions.
    • Think through and evaluate potential outcomes, possible barriers, and risk vs. advantages.
    • Decide and then evaluate your decision.
    • Avoid making emotional decisions, with only your heart. Use your head.

    Future – Focus

    • Think of the future in terms of:
      • new projects
      • outcomes
      • goals
      • your executive’s calendar
      • important upcoming event
      • potential business
    • Consider trends and changes in technology.
    • Read blogs, articles and materials written by trend analysts. Studying the movers and shakers who create the curve, set the trends and define what the future might be in a week, month or year, makes you valuable to your managers and organization.
    • Being a future thinker will decrease your pressure and stress.
    • For seasoned assistants, future thinking helps ensure you do not become obsolete.


    • Pay attention to the present.
    • Read and anticipate the domino effect.
    • Listen.
    • Visualize your desired results.

    I hope that these tips will help you become that high-achieving administrative assistant!

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    The post 5 Must-Have Skills for Progressive Assistants From Joan’s book, Who Took My Pen… Again? appeared first on Office Dynamics - Executive And Administrative Assistant Training.

  • feedwordpress 17:15:56 on 2018/11/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , creativity, ,   

    Decision Making 

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    Why is it that at the time we make a decision we believe it is the best, right answer or choice. Then days, weeks or months later, we regret the decision we made. We say to ourselves, “What was I thinking? However, based on the information I had at the time, I felt I made the best choice.” We will never be perfect at making decisions but we definitely need to take each bad decision or poor choice, learn from it, and commit to making better decisions in the future.

    Decision Maker

    Decision-making skill is key for productivity and growth. Your decisions take you on different paths depending upon the decisions you choose not to make as well as the actual decisions you make. Do not underestimate that even the smallest decision could change your life forever. [Read Andy Stanley’s book, The Principle of the Path for additional information on how to get from where you are to where you want to be.]

    Decisions are made daily, often without even realizing it. Some decisions are habit forming. You make the decision once and then repeat it again and again until you no longer hear yourself think or deliberate about it. An example is choosing to have a pastry at morning break daily. Your “decision” will affect your health, even your future, but you don’t even think about it any longer. 9:00 a.m. and you go get your pastry!

    When making a decision you may consider, “What would my leader do?” Having the knowledge of what your leader would do in certain situations will allow you to make a more educated decision. This, in turn, will free up your leader’s time. The more you do this kind of thinking the more empowered you become and the stronger the connection is with your leader and the organization’s need for you – a true cognitive being – as their business partner.

    In order to make a decision on anything, you must first understand the objectives and the situation surrounding the issue. Whether you are making a decision that affects your manager’s travel itinerary or involves purchasing a software package, you need to consider the objectives and purpose intended. You must set aside your own bias and needs to see the big picture. Many people are poor decision-makers because they only consider “what’s in it for me?” and they look no further. That is very short-term thinking and people around you will begin to assess that you are only in it for your own selfish and self-serving motives. That may get you a few plums, but that will not get you the prize!

    There will come a time in your decision-making journey of learning where you will have to remove the training wheels. You will have to make decisions and play them out, taking responsibility for them and being confident that you will be accountable for whatever happens. This doesn’t mean you need to “know everything” beforehand; it means you will take responsibility, shepherd them, and adjust as necessary along the way. Also, make sure you watch to observe the results, so you can learn from the results and do even better next time.

    joan_burge_signature, Contributing Author, Who Took My Pen … Again? Secrets from Dynamic Executive Assistants

    The post Decision Making appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 22:14:32 on 2018/10/05 Permalink
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    How to Change Someone’s Bad Attitude 

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    As you know, I am big on attitude! I believe in what Charles Swindoll once wrote, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.” Being positive or negative about any situation will have its inevitable conclusion because you’ve already framed the end result.

    If you’re like most people reading this weekly column, you choose to surround yourself with positive thinkers. Your continuing success reflects that. Still, we can’t always avoid working with (or sometimes, living with) negative thinkers. Therein lies a problem: What can we do to change a person’s inherently bad attitude, in part so it doesn’t affect us? And should we try?

    Here are a few observations that can help:

    • People are who they are. Like spouses or children, they don’t “change” because you will it. So exerting your influence and expecting the response you want is foolhardy at best and potentially disastrous for your relationship at worst.
    • Try to empathize, even a little. Remember: Life is not fair, and it can be harder on some than others. People who feel defeated or alone in the world still have to wake up each morning and eke out a living like the rest of us. We don’t have to know the exact reasons behind their troubles to see the cloud that surrounds them at work, and to pause a moment and wish that weren’t so- for their sakes more than ours.
    • Reach out as you’re able. Make an effort to connect and be friendly- more than once, if need be. People with poor attitudes tend to be protective and distrusting- and may not initially welcome your friendship, perhaps because they fear there are “strings” attached. Be gentle in your persistence: It’ll reinforce your sincerity, likely earning their trust and a better attitude in the process.

    One final note: When a person’s bad attitude cannot be tempered by the above methods, yet still needs to be addressed for the benefit of the workplace, you may want to consider constructively confronting the situation or suggesting that a manager do so. Many times, informing people of their bad attitude in a positive way (i.e., “I thought you’d want to know the impact X, Y or Z is having on the staff, because I’m confident that’s not how you meant to be perceived…”) can help influence change, simply by making them aware.

    Have a great week- and remember your attitude impacts others, too! So share your positivity, and help everyone you encounter make the most of every day!


    The post How to Change Someone’s Bad Attitude appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 14:45:35 on 2018/07/23 Permalink
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    The Secret Is Out! 

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    The secret is out! Finally, the secret we have been building up to for several weeks is out. I am very pleased to announce the title of my new book, Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed. In case you have not seen all the social media buzz, this has been an exciting project as this book is like none other I have written for assistants. I wanted to use a very different approach and shake things up, including my wardrobe for the back book cover. This book is pure Joan Burge… Raw. Real. Uncut.


    There are a few things that I experienced in bringing this book to life that I want to share with you that you can apply to your own work.


    1. Thinking outside of the box. I have written 4 books over the years for assistants and a few other books for women. For whatever reason, this time, I wanted to be edgy and different. I didn’t want to use my same old corporate look. While I love it, I have changed and times have changed. So it was important for me to portray that through the images we used on the book cover. Not only is the outside of the book very different and modern, my writing style is different in that I did not hire any editors or writers to polish or fine-tune my message. The approach I took with my communication style was as if I was sitting at a coffee shop with an assistant, what would I straight out say to this assistant? What have I learned over four decades of being in the business world? 20 years as an assistant? 28 years as the visionary for the administrative training industry? As a person who has sat on both sides of the desk for a very long time?


    1. Collaborative effort. The book cover is the result of a team of us working together. We spent an entire day doing a photo shoot—over 500 shots taken. That photo shoot included my amazing Las Vegas photographer, Chris Tucker, plus three of my team members (Brian, Ernan, and Beth). Every person played a part in the six-hour photo shoot! It was an incredible experience. The cool thing when you collaborate with others, ideas come to life that you had not planned. That is one of the differences between teamwork and collaboration. Brian came up with an amazing idea which is the photo you will see on the front cover of the book. Also working with everyone made the long day very fun! We put music on, we laughed, we even got silly late afternoon. Our result was beyond our own expectations. Who do you need to collaborate with at work? Do you even know the difference between collaboration and teamwork? Google it. There are distinct differences.


    1. Willingness to be the real you and step out of your norm. As I mentioned, my professional photos are your typical professional business photos, from my outfit to the way I stand or position my body. This time, I wore clothing that portrayed another side of me that most of the public has not seen. But the clothes represent where I am today and being extremely comfortable in my own skin! Plus I was keeping in mind that there are thousands of young people coming into the administrative profession and I wanted to relate to them as well.


    1. Be daring! I have always loved to push the envelope and be a little daring. When you see the cover of the book, you will know what I mean. At first, it’s easy to say, “Oh, maybe I better not do that!” But then it was easy for me to say, “Why not do that?” I want to shake up the administrative world in a big way. Mission accomplished. Where, when and how can you be daring? Life is so short and you need to get out there and shake yourself and others up! What are you waiting for?


    1. Trust in the creative process. Believe it or not, every person can be creative. Creativity just comes out in different ways. I know this because I teach creativity in our Star Achievement course. The main thing with creativity is letting it rise to the top. When you just let your mind be free and not be analytical, amazing ideas come to your mind. I love watching the creative process in action and experiencing it.


    1. Your skills and talents can shine. Brian Burge, our Creative Director, was so excited to be asked to design the cover of this book. Over the years, before Brian was with Office Dynamics, I outsourced the work for my book covers. The people I used in the past did a good job. But Brian knocked it out of the park—and on the first go around. The cover is an awesome expression of Brian’s talents. He had very little direction from me. I let Brian run with it. You need to make sure you get to work on projects that illuminate your gifts! If you are not given projects that will let your talents shine, then create something where you can display your talents and special gifts.


    I know there are many more lessons I learned from this project but I will stop here. If you even embrace one idea I mentioned above, you will be amazed!




    The post The Secret Is Out! appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 17:32:01 on 2018/06/10 Permalink
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    8 Bad Habits That Destroy Your Creativity 

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    If you think some people are born creative and you’re not one of them, think again.

    What makes some people more creative than others is that they nurture their creativity. In fact, experts say that creativity is primarily a learned skill. And like any other skill you want to learn, it requires that you put in some hard work and effort.

    It’s not enough to just want to be creative–it takes daily dedication to push yourself into original thoughts and expressive ideas. Too often, though, the biggest thing standing in the way may be your own habits.

    Here eight of the worst creativity killers. If you recognize them in your life, cut them out now.

    1. Premature judgment. To be creative, you have to allow yourself to be able to generate ideas and innovate freely and without judgment. If you judge your ideas too early in the process, you end up second-guessing and creating less. Separate the two processes, and let your initial run of ideas flow without interruption. There will be time later to select and polish the best.

    2. Lack of courage. If you’re fearful of taking chances, scared of venturing down new roads, timid about taking the road not traveled on, you’re going to find it difficult to ever venture off the main roads. Creativity requires taking a chance and being courageous. Fear is the biggest enemy of creativity.

    3. Avoidance of failure. You can’t be bold and creative when you’re afraid of failure. If your goal is to avoid failure and mistakes, you will play it out conservatively and quietly. Creativity means taking chances and venturing down some dead ends. The really great ideas you come up with will be more than worth it for all the dumb mistakes.

    4. Comparing yourself with others. When you compare yourself with others, you rob yourself of your own unique innovation and imagination. Set your own standards of creativity and don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Allow yourself to create and be different. The only unique contribution you can ever make in this world will be born of your creativity.

    5. Discomfort with uncertainty. Many people fear ambiguity; they want to know that things will make sense. But creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty. It is within this courage to be fearless that creativity will flow. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good habits that allow you to use your imagination and innovation. To be truly creative, you must lose the fear of being wrong.

    6. Taking criticism personally. Feedback is always good, and criticism is OK if we don’t take it personally. We all need someone who will give us feedback; that’s how we improve. Fearing criticism is fearing growth.

    7. Lack of confidence. A certain level of uncertainty accompanies every creative act, and a measure of self-doubt is healthy, but if your lack of confidence is overwhelming and long-lasting, it can cost you your abilities. The best way to create is to first connect with your self-confidence.

    8. Analysis paralysis. This terrible condition renders you unable to make a decision because of information overload. Every creative person understands that to overthink can be the greatest enemy of creativity.

    If you want to create, remember: The more you nurture your skill of creativity, the better you will be at it. So stop the bad habits that are destroying your creativity.


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


    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: Getty Images

    The post 8 Bad Habits That Destroy Your Creativity appeared first on Lolly Daskal.

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