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  • feedwordpress 00:00:59 on 2019/02/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , Executive And Assistant Partnership   

    Teach Your Executive How to Work with You 

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    Today, I thought I’d take a little different spin and share with you an excerpt from a chapter in my newest book for assistants, Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed.

    In my early days as a secretary I didn’t know how to teach my executives how to work with me or what I needed. However, at 26, thanks to an awesome executive, I learned how a strategic partnership should work and I taught every executive after that how to work with me. Here are a few quick tips.

    • Ask for challenging assignments. Sometimes executives just don’t think to give you challenging assignments. Or often they are thinking about the time they will have to spend to teach you. I’m here to tell you, I often asked my executives to give me more, teach me, and that I would handle it. This is a huge benefit to you because you grow your skill set. You become a more valuable asset because now they are relying on you for that task or piece of the project. It also keeps you from getting bored at work, which is the worst thing to happen!
    • Maintain your processes even during busy times. You and your executive should have clear processes on every aspect of the typical tasks that need to be performed. For years I have coached executives and assistants how to implement processes on everything from daily huddles to debrief meetings, managing email, travel planning, and holding quarterly strategic meetings. What often happens is when work or business gets really crazy, processes get put aside such as regular huddles. That is when I notice the most problems occur. So first, you must have excellent processes in place. Second, stick with your processes. Or if you get off schedule because of heavy executive travel, get back on schedule as soon as possible.
    • Demonstrate what you can do for them. Don’t always ask for permission. For example, maybe you can think of a better way to spruce up your executive’s PowerPoint presentation. Don’t ask if it’s okay to change it, just change it. Show it to him. Let your executive see what you are capable of doing.
    • Communicate your desire to help and be a business partner. Don’t wait to be asked to the party. Let your executive know you want to create this partnership and the benefits both of you will derive from doing so. Now not every executive or manager will want this partnership. If you support multiple managers, you won’t have the time to build strategic partnerships with each of them. I can safely say, though, that today’s progressive leaders want to have a partnership. They have a more modern approach, which is the perfect opportunity for you to speak up.

    This week, look for ways to teach your executive how to better work with you.



    This blog is from our Monday Motivators™, which is a weekly email sent from Joan Burge that gives you a little kick start to the week. These emails will include work advice, life advice, and sometimes how to find that good balance. To subscribe to Monday Motivators™ please click the button below.

    The post Teach Your Executive How to Work with You appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 19:00:05 on 2019/02/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , Executive And Assistant Partnership, ,   

    Face-to-Face Time with Administrative Assistants 

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    It’s me, Joan Burge.

    Those of you who have followed me for a while know I am a big fan of face-to-face time for executives and assistants. Face-to-face time is also beneficial for any manager who meets on a regular basis with their direct reports. Whether you are an executive or an assistant reading this Monday Motivator, here are ideas on what you can discuss when you have face-to-face time or catch up by telephone, Facetime, or Skype on a regular basis.

    E-mail Communications
    Executives and assistants can update each other on e-mail communications, whether it’s a status update or clarifying new actions to be taken.

    Discuss any events that will involve external visitors and anticipate actions to be taken before and during their visit. Executives: Share any important information that might help your assistant prepare for the event and ensure its success.

    Department Issues
    This is a good time to discuss any departmental problems that need the executive’s attention. Assistants are often privy to information within the department or are aware of potential personnel issues. These should be brought to the attention of the leader before a situation escalates.

    Status Updates
    Discuss updates on projects, meetings, items you are working on, and any other pertinent information. Assistants: Initiate discussion. Executives don’t like to have to ask the status of a specific project or task (nor do they have the time).

    Special Projects
    Discuss any special projects that are happening or coming up in the next few weeks. Assistants should ask what portions of the project they could work on: Is there any research to be done? Will information necessary for the project be coming from others inside or outside the company? If so, can they start assembling that information? Are presentations, graphs or charts required? If so, how many?

    Upcoming Travel
    Discuss upcoming trips so you can anticipate schedules and prepare necessary travel materials. At least bi-weekly, review the calendar for upcoming events as far as three months out.

    Training and Development
    Development happens when we take conscious action to improve. It is not a “check the box” aspect of your career; you must be intentional about it. Discuss your training and development requirements with your executive. Tell him about upcoming seminars and workshops you would like to attend and why. Be prepared to show your leader the information about the workshop, the objectives of the program, how the topics tie in with your job responsibilities, and the benefits of attending.

    Voicemails and IMs
    Discuss requests that need immediate attention or response. An assistant can return calls and take action if provided the appropriate context or required information from the executive.

    I hope you found these ideas useful. Wishing you an awesome week.


    P.S. By the way, if you are not aware, I host a live Facebook Friday on a fairly consistent basis. So if you want to end your week on a high note and learn a few good quick tips, then follow our Office Dynamics Facebook page to get notifications or watch replays. 


    This blog post is from Joan Burge’s Monday Motivators series. Monday Motivators is a weekly note offering practical ways to create a new mindset, change behaviors, develop positive relationships and thrive in the workplace with energy, effectiveness, and excellence. You can experience the power of self-navigation toward success. Energize your mind and drop those Monday blues! Subscribe to Monday Motivators.

    The post Face-to-Face Time with Administrative Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 18:00:19 on 2019/01/26 Permalink
    Tags: Executive And Assistant Partnership, , , ,   

    Administrative Assistants and Ongoing Status Updates 

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    As administrative assistants and executive assistants, we all know there are a hundred moving parts in business. There is constant change, new projects and ideas, rework, barriers, coordinating multiple people and meetings, travel, and more. Keeping the information flowing and status updates are critical to everyone’s success. Today I am especially focusing on how important status updates are between executives and assistants. Communication does not and should not only happen within the context of a formally scheduled meeting. It is something that should always be happening, fluidly, between Executive and Assistant.

    Tips for Administrative Assistants:

    • “Push” information to your executive; don’t make him ask.
    • Proactively ask questions; when you have time with your executive, use it wisely. Keep a running list of items so you never miss an opportunity.
    • Find opportunities throughout the day to quickly provide updates on pressing matters—fulfill your executive’s curiosity and put his mind at ease.
    • Remember that you don’t want to inundate your executive with e-mails throughout the day but occasional, concise e-mail updates are welcome.
    • Use post-its to communicate short updates or even words of encouragement to your executive.

    Tips for Executives:

    • Remain approachable and accessible to your assistant throughout the day, whether by phone, email or in-person; do not go long stretches without making a point for a quick, informal check-in.
    • If you are in the same location as your assistant, step out of your office or cubicle once in a while. Walk over to your assistant’s workspace and ask, “How are you doing? What’s going on?” Just have short, informal conversations. You will be surprised what you might learn by having these spontaneous mini-conversations with your assistant. Plus, you will be building rapport with your assistant, which will increase her desire to be a star performer for you.
    • Provide on-the-spot feedback. When your assistant has done something to your liking or successfully handled a difficult situation, be sure to tell her exactly what you liked so she will repeat the behavior.

    On the flip side, if your assistant did not quite meet your expectations on an assignment, task, or situation, provide useful feedback immediately while the event is fresh in your mind and hers. Use these as coaching opportunities so your administrative assistant executive assistant can grow and become even more valuable to you.


    Monday_Motivators_HomeThis blog post is from Joan Burge’s Monday Motivators series. Monday Motivators is a weekly note offering practical ways to create a new mindset, change behaviors, develop positive relationships and thrive in the workplace with energy, effectiveness, and excellence. You can experience the power of self-navigation toward success. Energize your mind and drop those Monday blues! Subscribe to Monday Motivators.

    Subscribe Here






    The post Administrative Assistants and Ongoing Status Updates appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 19:11:02 on 2018/12/07 Permalink
    Tags: Executive And Assistant Partnership, , ,   

    Things Assistants Do That Executives Appreciate 

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    I am very fortunate in that I get to read fabulous letters from executives touting the behavior changes they see in their executive or administrative assistants after attending our Star Achievement Series® course. I love reading these letters as 1) I see the training we provided truly worked, but more importantly, 2) I learn what executives appreciate—what executives look for in an assistant—and what executives value and observe.


    Recently I have read more than 40 executive letters. These executive letters are one of the requirements for a Star Achievement Series® participant to receive their CEAP (Certified Executive Administrative Professional) designation.

    (Watch Joan present the top 12 during her Facebook Friday video, 12/7/2018)

    Ask yourself the following questions then compare it to the bulleted list below:

    1. Do I do this for my executive?
    2. If you answered “yes” to #1, ask yourself, “How often do I do this?” (This is an important question.)
    3. If you answered “no” to #1, then you might want to incorporate this behavior or habit into your routine.
    • Very aware of organizational priorities
    • Asks me key questions so I can better prepare for my meetings
    • More confidence when addressing conflict in a way that leverages relationships
    • Cultivates professional networks that help us accomplish our goals
    • Speaks up in my team meetings and has brought additional insights into our group forums that are highly valued
    • Open to feedback—productive and enjoyable
    • Takes the initiative and has the comfort level to proactively review documents in preparation for my meetings
    • Reviews my inbox for information that is timely and necessary
    • Truly wants to understand the business for her own learning to better engage and to help me get in front of things
    • More actively takes on a leadership role
    • Ensures we have clarity on meeting objectives, participating actively to ensure we make decisions, and leaving the door open for all participants to weigh in
    • More focus on prompting leaders to ensure critical team meetings occur
    • Increased confidence: more vocal, more influential and exudes a stronger presence with those she works with
    • Has become more inquisitive on my expectations, allowing both of us to think more strategically on where I spend my time and how we approach projects
    • Seeks me out to make sure we are on the same page regarding topics ranging from scheduling to organizational strategy
    • 100% accountable for his (the assistant) actions
    • Chooses the right medium of communication for impact
    • Actively prioritizes around critical deliverables and is always available and flexible
    • Communicates effectively while resolving problems with little to no direction from me
    • Proactive in selecting work that was better suited for her and me, so that both of us were more successful
    • Stands up for herself more often so that others do not take advantage of her accommodating personality
    • Always proactively planning for me thus reducing my set up and pre-coordination time of events
    • Ability to roll with the punches
    • Big picture thinker, looking for opportunities for us to gain efficiency and share best practices
    • Addresses his workload with a greater degree of proficiency and efficiency
    • My assistant looks at my calendar weeks away and helps me think about the time needed to complete projects or get ready for presentations
    • After meetings, my assistant follows up with me to see what “to do” I have from the meeting, if I need a follow-up meeting or if I need to send a recap of the meeting to attendees. This proactive thinking helps me stay ahead.
    • Leverages technology to help me stay organized
    • Relentless enthusiasm and truly wants to make a difference
    • Taken on the task of creating presentations for me or the team
    • Consciously adjusts communication style when addressing various leaders
    • Motivates and encourages peers
    • Manages peace and harmony; dealing with constant distractions daily
    • Takes networking skills very seriously, encouraging teamwork and collaboration throughout our organization
    • Completes assignments quickly and accurately
    • Takes the initiative to converse with me about the expectations and objectives and (she) will give regular feedback on how she is progressing
    • Helps me more with my exchanges of information with my peers
    • Leans in to better understand the whys behind decisions
    • Shows an eagerness to take on stretch assignments
    • Proactively solves problems
    • Appropriately assertive
    • Enables my success by staying two steps ahead
    • Proactively puts together documents for upcoming meetings
    • Takes swift action when given a deliverable
    • Effectively manages my calendar with efficiency in mind
    • Collaborates and communicates with the team without specific direction from me
    • Solution oriented in gathering information or data for an upcoming deliverable
    • (more) Strategic: developing more long-term and process planning to better support the overall operations, team and his actual role

    The Star Achievement Series® is the most comprehensive live training course for administrative and executive assistants. This course is only taught onsite. We offer several options ranging from our trainers coming onsite to having your staff certified to teach the program. If you are interested in learning more about this robust program, you can all 800-STAR-139 or visit https://officedynamics.com/star-achievement-series/

    The post Things Assistants Do That Executives Appreciate appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 16:15:38 on 2018/10/09 Permalink
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    Tips for the Tourist in All of Us: The Savvy Admin’s Guide to Travel! 

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    I have been hosting the Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence for 25 years. I also host a high-end training program for executive assistants and administrative assistants called World Class Assistant, in Las Vegas. I have observed hundreds of assistants travel and heard numerous stories about their travel experiences both while in transit to Las Vegas and during their stay in Las Vegas.

    Since I travel most of the year and every trip is an adventure, many of the things I hear attendees complain about are typical, yet they appear to be larger than life to the attendee. What is most interesting is that administrative professionals are the ones who are very involved in their executive’s travels yet are not road warriors. It is for this very reason that I had Nancy Fraze, an Office Dynamics journalist, write, a list of Travel Tips. While these were written for our administrative professional conference attendees, they can apply to any trip you may whether it be a business trip or vacation. It will certainly reduce any travel stress you may experience.

    First and foremost: No trip is perfect! You must expect the unexpected and go with the flow. Adapt quickly and bring lots of reading materials for downtime at the airport.

    Town Cars vs. Taxi:
    Your choice should depend on the city you are traveling to, the distance you will be going from the airport to the hotel, and any other local traveling you will be doing—such as going from a hotel to a restaurant; plus the time of your arrival (are you arriving after dark and traveling alone?). I travel to many cities where a town car is not much more than a taxi and it is safer travel. Plus the town car is usually very professional, assists with your bags and pampers you by providing water, newspapers, and mints and shares good information about what to do in town, where to eat, where not to go. As a woman traveler, my safety is the #1 value I hold highest and I am willing to pay more for feeling safe.

    Hotel Shuttles:
    You need to find out if that hotel shuttle has specific times airport pick-up times. Does that schedule fit with your arrival? Or if it is a half hour out from your arrival time, is it worth it for you to sit around the airport and wait? It depends on what you need to do upon your arrival. Do you have lots of free time? Or do you need to get to your hotel, quickly unpack, and get to a meeting? It also depends on whether your flight arrived on time or not.

    Share Ground Transportation:
    Sharing a taxi or town car with other attendees from your organization may be a cost-effective alternative. Be organized and schedule your flights where you arrive within 15 or 20 minutes of each other or travel on the same flight. If you are traveling alone, find out who else is attending that administrative conference or a training event, coordinate arrival times and share your transportation. It takes being proactive and organized.

    Download Our Free Comprehensive Business Travel Planning Checklist Here.

    Hotel Requests or Repairs: Most hotels do their best to provide good customer service, neat and fully functional sleeping rooms, efficient staff, and tasty food. However, with that said, the hotel staff are people and people are not perfect. Equipment does burn out or needs maintenance. This is just a simple truth. Fire alarms inadvertently go off while you are in the shower! Air conditioners stop working. Walls are thin and you can hear the person in the other room talking. Guests will be outside your bedroom door at 11:00 p.m. laughing and showing no consideration that you have to get up at 6:00 a.m. for a full day at a conference or training.

    While it is upsetting when these things happen, and you may have been traveling all day only to arrive late, your room is too cold or too hot, you have not eaten all day, and your luggage did not arrive . . .

    • Remain calm.
    • Call the front desk from your hotel room phone and state your issue.
    • If you do not get a satisfactory response within 10 minutes (the repair person or a call that they are being dispatched), call the front desk again. Request to speak to the “Manager on Duty.”
    • For repairs such as burned out light bulbs, be aware that hotels often change them during the day while the cleaning staff is servicing your room. Simply report it and go on about your schedule.
    • Do not sit in your room waiting! The engineers often come into the room while I am at dinner or off to my training session.
    • Request a credit or $20.00 off your dinner if they have really messed up! Be assertive in a professional fashion.

    Ambiance: Hotels, restaurants, and spas spend thousands of dollars planning an ambiance that will please you. Most hotel rooms create an ambiance with lighting that is not as bright as you are used to at home. You may find the task light at the bedside table or desk area is necessary in order to enjoy reading in bed or to check emails at the desk. Hotels are designed for the vacation traveler even though the majority of their business is the business road warrior.

    Be flexible and remember to savor the unfamiliar and find the joy and beauty in it. You can also sink into a deliciously deep tub for a long soak; enjoy the marble shower or the marvelous scenery, not to mention the lighted makeup mirror! Or if these are not provided (find out ahead of time), then bring your own makeup mirror or little reading light.

    Expect the unexpected:
    When traveling, you must expect the unexpected. Perhaps your flight is delayed or overbooked. Perhaps you miss the shuttle, your baggage is delayed or lost; the hotel room is not quite ready when you arrive. This happens to every traveler at some point. When it happens to you, how will you respond?

    • Remain calm! (Again, we’ve all witnessed the cranky traveler – you don’t want to be that person.)
    • Prepare: pack a good book or your MP3 player so you can entertain yourself during downtime.
    • Consider it a learning experience that will help you know how best to help your executives when someday it happens to them!
    • Use your administrative skills and a winning attitude to find the joy in that unexpected moment, no matter what.
    • Remember: people are human and mistakes sometimes happen.
    • Keep a positive outlook throughout the unexpected experience. It feels much better than going through it any other way!

    Happy travels!

    Travel tips provided by Nancy Fraze.

    Download Our Free Comprehensive Business Travel Planning Checklist Here.

    The post Tips for the Tourist in All of Us: The Savvy Admin’s Guide to Travel! appeared first on Office Dynamics.

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