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  • feedwordpress 13:30:19 on 2017/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Interpersonal Skills,   

    Choosing Excellence Every Day 

    administrative_assistant_training

    I absolutely loved Joan Burge’s article, Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving! As John D. Rockefeller noted, “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”

    The principle she discussed of renewing and improving core skills is closely related to what Steven Covey calls “Sharpening the Saw”:  the deliberate improvement of our tools to help us become more effective. To be of greatest benefit, sharpening the saw needs to become a habit, rather than a disruptive activity; ideally, it should be embedded in the very way you do work, and you should regularly set aside time for more focused work in this area as well.

    Can you imagine how a self-perpetuating plan for professional development would affect your work over time? The impact might at first seem to be minimal as you save a few minutes here or a headache there; over time, however, the cumulative effect of all these improvements will be to transform you from an employee who does what they are told to a professional who largely dictates the course of their career.

    To make continual improvement a part of the way you work, it is best to strive to integrate it with your work, rather than disrupting your work patterns.  This way, it complements your career instead of competing with it.  Start with some simple daily routines and then, as those improvements give you better control over your workflow, start blocking time for more ambitious development activities.  The following outlines strategies I have used to great effect in my own career to make development an integral part of my professional life.  These changes did not happen overnight, but incrementally over a course of years. Nonetheless, they outline a sure path to fulfilling your career potential.

    Lay the Foundation

    Before you can master any skill or role, you must have a holistic vision what it encompasses and entails. Achieving excellence as an administrative professional is no different.  If you do not have one yet, create a manual to define the scope of your responsibilities and the procedures you use to fulfill those responsibilities.  This is a time-consuming task, but essential.  If you have never created such a manual before – or if you want a jump-start on the process – Julie Perrine has created a great process for developing one with her “Become a Procedures Pro 5-Day Challenge“.

    Daily

    Once you have a procedures manual in place, you can use it to capture process improvements you make on the fly for later addition to your manual. For simple notes, I like to use sticky notes on the frame of my monitor as placeholders until I have a chance to document the change; when the monitor gets too crowded, then I know I need to make time for an update.

    For more complicated procedures, Julie Perrine’s program (mentioned above) includes paper templates that you can print and keep handy for creating handwritten procedures to place in your print manual until you are ready to type them up. Personally, since my work-in-progress list and manual are both in OneNote, my preferred method is to create a work-In-progress page for more complicated updates and ideas, then transfer it directly into my manual notebook when complete.

    Weekly

    At least once a week, it’s a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture.  If you have a professional development plan, set aside 30 minutes on Friday to review your goals and make adjustments. Take note of any areas where you are falling behind; eliminate or adjust any tasks or goals that have become irrelevant or obsolete.  If you have a mentoring relationship, share this weekly review by email: this allows you to stay in touch and get feedback without placing a burden on your mentoring partner by requiring their attention “right now.”

    Monthly

    Once you have gotten into the above habits, it’s important to start scheduling time for a deeper dive into your professional development plan, as well as for extended training sessions. For the latter, be sure to also include time to make a personal action plan based on the training.

    I particularly want to mention Office Dynamics’ monthly webinars here. I have been following them for a while now, and always come away with some fresh ideas to try – more than once doing so to accolades from my executives. As Andree Caldwell noted, “The role of an Executive Assistant is to make sure the executive is always prepared, and always ‘in the know.’”  I know of no better resource available for getting that insider knowledge, and even the most unimaginative employer cannot balk at the cost: incredibly, these webinars are offered at no cost to the attendees!

    Once a month is also a great schedule for meeting with your mentoring partner; ideally, you should arrange this meeting to occur somewhere away from the office.   The change in scenery will literally light up new parts of your brain that lie dormant in your everyday environment, and face-to-face time with a trusted friend will help recharge your emotional batteries in a way that an email simply cannot do.  Beyond that, in person conversations are the right place for off -the-record conversation, and provide the opportunity for stimulating real-time debate and collaboration.

    Quarterly

    If you are proactively making time for professional development on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you will most likely find that you have an increasing ability to dictate where you invest your time and focus.  This is a natural outgrowth of a continuous improvement habit and allows you to take your game to the next level.

    One of my favorite bloggers is Michael Hyatt; of his many wonderful suggestions, one of my favorites is what he calls the Quarterly Review: a full-day, personal, quarterly offsite in which you to take stock of your professional development plan, make course corrections and reset priorities for the coming quarter.  Make no mistake, however – this level of commitment to your development requires planning.  As Michael observes, “If you wait until you have a break in your schedule, you’ll never get to it. You have to make appointments with yourself and schedule other things around it.”  You can follow up with a special quarterly mentoring meeting for added benefit.

    If you can get your employer’s blessing for this kind of a review day – or even just a half-day – that’s great! If you can’t, then make time to do this on your own.  No one has a greater stake in your professional development than you do, and if you do not value yourself highly enough to make this investment, you will have a hard time convincing others to make the investment for you.  Conversely, when you do believe in yourself, other people cannot help but notice; they will be attracted to your energy and drive, and will be eager to help you and to be a part of your success!

    Annually

    To truly reinforce all of these habits of self-management and professional development, nothing is better than total immersion in the company of thought leaders and peers who hold your values. Even with a mentor to help you through the work outlined above, self-improvement can often lead you to what feels like a lonely place.  Administrative colleagues who have not yet adopted a professional attitude about their career may be perplexed, and even threatened, by your ambition and accomplishments. Whenever possible, put yourself in the company of those who understand what you are doing and why. Conferences will help you clarify your vision, inspire you with new ideas and connect you to the people who are willing to make what may at other times seem to be a lonely journey.

    Step into the world of a conference, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, while you may be a pioneer among your peers, you are not alone in making this journey. I highly recommend making the time and investment to attend at least one major professional conference each year. A great choice, of course, is Office Dynamics’ own Conference for Administrative Excellence.  This year’s theme is The Accelerated Assistant, and if my experience last year is anything to go by, I promise it will deliver above and beyond what you can anticipate if you have not attended a conference before.  In fact, as I assimilate the enormous amount of new information and connections delivered by their 2016 program, The Revolutionary Assistant, I am still constantly finding new ways in which this investment pays off

    Conclusion

    We can choose to coast along comfortably in our administrative career, or we can choose to pursue excellence.  We can choose to uphold the status quo, or we can choose to seek continuous improvement. We can choose to let others dictate the path of our career, or we can choose to create a career that reflects the best of what we have to offer. Our careers – indeed, our lives – are driven by the values we hold and by the myriad small choices we make every day.  Choose to make yours a life of excellence by doing the common things uncommonly well.

    REFERENCES

    Burge, Joan “Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving

    Caldwell, Andrée “Executive Assistant?! What Is That Exactly…a Secretary?

    Hyatt, Michael “The Importance of the Quarterly Review

    Pavlina, Steve “Sharpen the Saw

     

     

    AUTHOR’S NOTE

    Tara E. Browne, DTM is an EA at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA, USA. Tara believes that administrative support represents one of the greatest areas of improvement opportunity in business. Collectively, administrative professionals are generally well-educated and represent a vast body of networked institutional knowledge about how business is done, yet are largely ignored in the endeavor to solve business pain. To leverage their knowledge and advance the profession, admins must learn to collaborate in new ways. In 2016, Tara founded MentorsAndMasterminds.com, a website dedicated exclusively to connecting administrative professionals (and former administrative professionals) in ways that support this vision.

     

    The post Choosing Excellence Every Day appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:45:56 on 2017/05/01 Permalink
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    The Power of One 

    admin_training

    Welcome to May! Such a lovely time of year. I hope everyone has recuperated from an exciting Administrative Professionals Week. We did a lot of celebrating at Office Dynamics. On Wednesday, April 26 I hosted a Facebook Live where I spoke about what I love about the administrative profession and gave tips on how to shine in the profession. In case you missed it, you can access it here.

    Well, last week was very exciting for me because once again, I witnessed The Power of One. For more than 2 decades I have been talking to assistants about The Power of One. The concept is that it only takes 1 person to create change or 1 person to create something awesome. I use a visual of candles on a table. I light the first candle. This represents 1 person who has an idea. They take action on their idea and talk to another assistant or someone else in the company. Then another candle is lit representing the spark created from the first person. Then those 2 people go out and talk to others and light the fire in them about their idea. And then those 4 or 6 people go out and light a spark in others and before you know it . . . BAM! Something wonderful occurs that can change the life of many.

    I want to thank Cindy McConnell, EA to the CEO of Shure Incorporated for approaching me last October. Cindy said that Shure Incorporated had a beautiful auditorium and that they would like to be a host site for me to hold a one day workshop or mini-conference. Well, of course, I said yes. The great part of having a host site like Shure was that they provided the venue and all the A/V so Office Dynamics was able to keep the registration cost very reasonable.

    After I said yes to Cindy and we decided on a date, Cindy went into action and enlisted her administrative team. The fire was lit and it spread like wildfire. We ended up having 120 assistants from 20 states attend our full day program, Building a Star Partnership, in Chicago at Shure Incorporated. The administrative team went above and beyond what I imagined and I am eternally grateful to the ladies who put love and attention into the event. I’d like to give thanks to: Christine Clark, Claire Dorner, Janet Higgins, Nicole Rok, and Grace Sikora.

    So what does this mean to you? It means you can create a wildfire in your organization. It means you don’t have to just sit on the sidelines and watch life go by at work. You can be a catalyst for change. You can create something that will touch the lives of many. It means you will fulfill using some of your greatest assets and talents. Cindy McConnell loves putting on events as they do that often at Shure. I could certainly tell Cindy and her team love being hosts and doing an excellent job.

    During my 20 year career as an assistant, I had many opportunities where I was the “1” creating change. I started administrative training in a few of the companies where I worked. I started a special group for Assistants to CEO’s in 1990 in Virginia Beach and the group is still together—the group I started! Wow. Do you know how good that makes me feel? But it’s not about me. It is about others and utilizing your talents to help others.

    I started Office Dynamics in 1990, when there was no one company specializing in in-depth training for administrative professionals. There were training companies like Skillpath and AMA but they offered tons of programs for all types of careers. I saw a gap. I wanted to only focus on the administrative profession. There was a lack of quality, meaty training for assistants. It made no sense. So I lit my own fire with passion, enthusiasm, hard work and a desire to improve the quality of work life for assistants around the world. Here I am 27 years later. We have touched the lives of tens of thousands of assistants around the world. Not only have we touched lives, but now there are many others getting on the bandwagon to educate and support assistants.

    Do you see the power just 1 person can have? Do you see you can make a difference in the world? But it does take certain behaviors and characteristics. Here is a checklist for you.

    • Passion
    • A desire to make a difference
    • Hard work; willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in
    • Patience (tons)
    • Energy
    • Persuasion skills
    • Enthusiasm
    • A desire to learn in the area you are passionate about
    • Craft your skill
    • Good communication skills
    • Organizational skills
    • Self-management
    • Building a strong network

    What have you noticed in your workplace that needs changing? Or maybe what is missing for your administrative community? What about a process that can increase productivity?

    I bet if you took 15 minutes to think about it, there is something you are longing to do or change. What are you waiting for? Life is short. Move into action.

    administrative_assistant_conference

    The post The Power of One appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:56:33 on 2017/04/28 Permalink
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    5 Ways To Amplify Your Personal Brand 

    administrative_blog

    “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” ~ Seth Godin

    It’s no secret the world has changed. You are doing more with less. Things are moving at the speed of light. And Google has become the new resume. The question is … what are you doing about it?

    How are you standing out? What are your points of distinction? And most importantly, how are you articulating that to your clients, your prospects, your boss, and your leadership?

    The real challenge in today’s society is simply getting the attention of the people that can buy from you, hire you, promote you and/or recommend you. You have to find a way to stand out and you have to do it in a way that is authentically you. This doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert in order to “stand out”. You can be your amazing introverted self and still find a way to rise above the noise.

    Bottom line: If you want to build career stability you need to be looking for ways to amplify your brand. And you have to do it now. The world is moving way too fast. The competition is way too fierce. It’s not “if” the economy will shift again, it’s “when”. So, what are you doing to protect the largest asset you own … the brand of YOU?

    Here are 5 things you can do right now to turn up the volume on your personal brand:

    1. Live in Permanent Beta
    It’s hard to get stuck somewhere old when you are always learning something new. This is what permanent beta is all about. It is about making a lifelong commitment to continual personal development. How do you do this? A few ideas:

    • Attend industry conferences.
    • Take a class at a local university.
    • Watch 2-­‐3 TED Talks per week. I literally write these into my weekly calendar to make it a priority.
    • READ! There is a study that shows if you read just 10 minutes per day, which typically equates to 10 pages per day, you will have read approximately Nineteen (19) 200-page
      books! Imagine how much your life will change if you are reading 19 life, business and personal development books a year. #MicDrop

    2. Know Your Points of Distinction
    Before you brand yourself you have to understand yourself. Do you know what makes you different than everyone else out there that does what you do? What sets you apart? What makes you unique? No one does it your way. No one has your unique set of skills, gifts and ideas. So be proud of who you are and own it! You should be able to answer these 2 questions:

    1. A company would hire you (or promote you) over another event professional because?
    2. What do you offer that’s hard to come by?

    3. Promote Yourself Internally
    You have to find ways to stand out within your current organization. When push comes to shove, will you be the one they can’t live without? Are you the one that provides the most value? Here are some things you can start doing at work right now:

    • Read the industry pubs and blogs, and then share articles and ideas with your team, leadership, boss and/or other departments that could help them do their jobs better or motivate them.
    • Volunteer to lead the next sales or team meeting to share that really cool idea you learned from the last book you read or the last industry conference you attended.
      Mentor someone in the company.
    • Start a task force to help solve a problem you see happening.
    • Always be looking for ways to help other people within your organization get what THEY want or need.

    4. Promote Yourself Externally
    You also have to put yourself out there on a larger scale. If you really want to expand your network you need a seat at the table. We are so lucky to work in an industry where you have so many choices to get involved at your fingertips. A few ways to start include:

    • Lead and volunteer within an industry organization -­‐ this right here is the secret sauce to all career success. So pick an industry association and get involved!
      Sit on industry panels.
    • Speak at the next conference.
    • Get published in a trade pub or start a personal blog.
    • Join Social Media Groups and be active by providing value and sharing resources to help others solve problems.

    5. Ignore the Haters
    I saved my favorite for last. This is the golden nugget. I bet the #1 reason you don’t put yourself out there is you are worried what other people will think. That they will judge you, make fun of you, or find you annoying. Guess what? People already don’t like you, find you annoying and are judging you. The Q is: Who are you living your life for? You … or them!

    By mixing up a recipe of these branding ingredients. You WILL amplify your brand. You will expand your network. You will create a competitive edge. Life is too short to blend in. Plus, who wants to stay stuck, and safe, and just the same?

    The world needs that special gift only YOU have.


    By Judi Holler

    Judi is an expert on personal branding who helps professionals learn how to expand their network, embrace fear and get a competitive edge. Judi will be speaking at our 24th Annual Conference For Administrative Excellence in October.

    free_webinars_for_administrative_assistants

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  • feedwordpress 13:45:28 on 2017/04/25 Permalink
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    Strategies for Advancing Your Career Outside of Administrative Services 

    My good friend and fellow expert in the administrative field, Julie Perrine, has a saying that goes something like this, “In admin, you can start here and go anywhere!”

    Incidentally, if you don’t know Julie, you should. She’ll be at the annual Conference for Administrative Excellence this year and she is an absolute wealth of knowledge and insight.

    But back to the point: Being an administrative professional, the world is your oyster. This is a career that can, should you desire, be a fantastic stepping stone into a wide variety of other careers.

    Here at Office Dynamics, we focus a lot on those who have chosen administration as their career path. It’s a noble, exciting, ever-evolving world that can be incredibly fulfilling and lucrative. However, it’s not for everyone.

    Some people may find that it’s not a good fit. Others may enjoy it for a period of time, but eventually feel called to other fields.

    The skills you gain as an administrative professional can easily transfer to other roles. For example, here are a few of the most common roles that may be a great fit for assistants, depending on your skills and interests:

    • Project Manager
    • Event Planner
    • Training Coordinator
    • Virtual Assistant
    • Database Administrator
    • Graphic Designer
    • Human Resources Assistant

    Looking at this list, you probably already do many of these things on a daily basis!

    So, what are your next steps if you’re currently working as an assistant, but aiming for something different? Well, use your time wisely! Here are some recommendations.

    Take on “Future Focused” Projects

    As an assistant, you have many opportunities to stretch your skills and try on different “roles.” Take advantage of that by volunteering to own projects that leverage and develop specific skills you’d like to use in the future.

    For example, if you’re interested in graphic design, offer to redesign a PowerPoint presentation for your executive, or create a new cover sheet for reports. If you’re interested in database administration, get involved with the database systems at your disposal. Learn how to run reports and queries, or maybe offer to help creating procedures for others to do the same.

    Whatever skills you’ll need in your next role, find ways to develop them now. Get creative! But remember you still have to “sell” the idea to your executive, so always identify the value the work offers to the organization. It’s not all about you and your needs.

    Note Your Accomplishments

    Throughout your career, it’s important to keep a running list of your professional accomplishments. This is a tool you’ll use in many different settings including job interviews and performance reviews.

    As you prepare for the next phase of your career, you’ll want to be able to highlight the specific things you achieved using the transferrable skills you’re looking to leverage in the future. This will show others that you have what it takes to do the job, even if you’ve never held that specific title in the past.

    Remember: It’s one thing to tell people you can do something. It’s an entirely different thing to show them you’ve done it successfully in the past. Capture those accomplishments now and you’ll use them later.

    Get Involved in Professional Associations

    Many professional groups allow “outsiders” to attend events, especially if you’re exploring the field as a potential career path. This is a great way to get insider information regarding what it’s like to do the job you’re considering. It’s also useful for making connections! You can get to know people in the field who might be able to help you in a future job search. Having a personal referral can help you overcome the barrier of transitioning from administration to a new field.

    Regardless of where you’re going in the future, remember that being an assistant is an important role. Take it seriously and respect your job duties. Don’t get so focused on the future that you let your primary responsibilities fall by the wayside. That can give you (and the administrative field in general) a bad name.


    Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach and corporate trainer who believes that work can be a nourishing, enriching part of the life experience. Her website, EatYourCareer.com, is devoted to that mission. You’re invited to join the FREE Eat Your Career Resource Library where you’ll gain immediate access to dozens of tools to advance your professional skills and achieve career fulfillment.

    Chrissy also has an amazing book called The Proactive Professional and some incredible ebooks and guides.

    This blog is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.

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    The post Strategies for Advancing Your Career Outside of Administrative Services appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:45:35 on 2017/04/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Interpersonal Skills, ,   

    Strategies for Advancing Your Career in Administrative Services 

    As a career-minded assistant, it’s easy to get to a place where you wonder, “Where do I go from here?”

    Advancing as an assistant can take many different forms. For some, it involves climbing to the next level, becoming a “senior” support staff member or an administrative manager. For others, it means moving into a support position for a higher-level executive, assisting a CEO or CFO for example.

    Regardless of what path you’re on, if you’re interested in moving up the ladder as an assistant, there are several strategies to better position yourself for success. These tips will help demonstrate your higher-level abilities and support your bid for promotion when the time comes.

    Master the Fundamentals
    As Joan says, “You have to master the fundamentals!” You can’t expect to move up if you aren’t already fully and completely (even exceptionally) competent with the basic duties and responsibilities of the role. If you’re still struggling with time management, organization, professional presence, and communication, focus on amplifying your skills in these key areas.

    There’s no substitution for mastery. Proficiency isn’t enough. Become an expert in everything you do.

    Take the Lead & Self-Manage
    Demonstrate your ability to take charge, influence others, and see a project through from beginning to end. These kinds of leadership skills are only gained through practice and yet, they’re essential for advancement.

    Show that you know how to collaborate and rally a group around a common goal. Prove that you can manage many moving parts with high-pressure stakes and deadlines and without a lot of supervision. The more you can self-manage and work independently, the more valuable you become to your executive(s) and the organization.

    Be Vocal
    Become an advocate for yourself! Promote your accomplishments in a way that is honest and confident, without going overboard. Cite specific achievements and the impact they had on the organization. The more you speak about facts and results, the easier it is. You’re not “self-promoting;” you’re simply sharing information.

    Remember that people are busy, and they often don’t know the great things you do each day. You have to bring those things to light. Don’t hide in the shadows and hope that someone notices all you do.

    Mentor Newbies
    As you grow in your own role, help others to do the same. Don’t hoard your knowledge. Share it with others, especially those who are struggling. Mentoring shows you are team-oriented and not afraid of helping other people shine. You’ll establish a reputation for being a go-to resource—and you’ll probably gain all kinds of new insights along the way.

    Ultimately, all of these strategies will show that you are at the top of your field right now, and that you can leverage your skills to support the entire team’s success. That’s exactly what managers are looking for when they promote employees.


    Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach and corporate trainer who believes that work can be a nourishing, enriching part of the life experience. Her website, EatYourCareer.com, is devoted to that mission. You’re invited to join the FREE Eat Your Career Resource Library where you’ll gain immediate access to dozens of tools to advance your professional skills and achieve career fulfillment.

    Chrissy also has an amazing book called The Proactive Professional and some incredible ebooks and guides.

    This blog is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.

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    The post Strategies for Advancing Your Career in Administrative Services appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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