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  • feedwordpress 15:50:47 on 2018/09/10 Permalink
    Tags: , Professional Image   

    5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career 

    5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career

    1. Think like an entrepreneur. See yourself as President of You, Inc. Don’t just think of yourself as working for someone else. Learn to take responsibility and be accountable for your work environment. Be a catalyst in making good things happen around you.
    2. See teams everywhere. See people in other departments as part of the bigger team. A business should be a constellation of talent. As each person becomes better at what he or she does and shares successes with colleagues, each department becomes stronger. As each department becomes more effective, the entire organization excels.
    3. Be a problem solver. In the new work environment, you have to tackle problems inside and outside your immediate area. When you see a problem, take ownership. Think of several solutions, evaluate possible outcomes, select one and move forward.
    4. Take risks. When you take a risk, the outcome is not always guaranteed. But if you never take a risk, or push your limits, you will never know your true potential.
    5. Seek feedback. All of us have “blind spots.” Encourage feedback from your manager, colleagues, customers, and others who interact with you regularly. Once you receive their feedback, work on a plan for improvement.

     

     

    Register for the 25th Annual Conference For Administrative Excellence

    The post 5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Career appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:20:49 on 2018/08/16 Permalink
    Tags: , Professional Image, ,   

    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 14:45:35 on 2018/07/23 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Professional Image   

    The Secret Is Out! 

    The_Secret_Is_Out

     

    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!

     

    joan_burge_signature

     

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

     
  • feedwordpress 20:00:13 on 2018/07/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Professional Image,   

    It’s COOL to be an Administrative Professional 

     

    It’s_COOL_to_be_Administrative_Professional

    It’s COOL to be an Administrative Professional because you have a pulse on how people feel. It seems that most people in a workplace confide in administrative professionals. How many times have your executive’s direct reports talked to you in confidence? Or how many just talk to you about how they feel about a project — or changes taking place in the company?

     

    Often, you are viewed as a confidante. They are comfortable talking to you. And they look to you for answers or insight. How many times has one of your leader’s staff members come to you to check the thermostat of your leader? They will ask, “Is this a good time to see Joe?” Or, “Do you think this is a good time to talk to Melissa about the project?”

     

    You often have a clear understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes and can provide valuable information to your leader, if you choose. Or sometimes you keep quiet because you know that is the right thing to do. People will come to you and open up that would not go to your executive and open up. How cool is that?

     

    One thing you might want to consider is – are you a trusted confidante? Do you know when you should share something you heard with your leader and when you should be quiet? Are you careful to not put your spin on the information you have heard when transmitting it to your leader?

     

    Are there times you wish people would not share with you? Do you wish your leader’s staff would not come to you? What are your thoughts on this topic?

     

    joan_burge_signature

     

     

     

    The post It’s COOL to be an Administrative Professional appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:15:42 on 2018/07/17 Permalink
    Tags: Professional Image, , ,   

    Word Alert! Pompous Phrases Can Set an Arrogant Tone 

    arrogant_woman

    With the spoken word, we have the privilege of adding voice intonation, hand gestures, and emotion with our vocal cords. That doesn’t happen as easily in writing. You might leave readers guessing about your intended meaning and risk setting a tone that can be misconstrued.

    Does your writing come across as arrogant? Are you using pompous phrases? To avoid confusion, consider dropping the following idioms and phrases from your writing altogether. Not only will you convey your thoughts more directly, but your writing will gain clarity.

    Question using these suspicious phrases in your writing:

    • Not to mention . . . (then why mention it at all?)
    • It goes without saying . . . (then why say it?)
    • If I may say so . . . (it’s your writing; of course, you may say so)
    • I believe that . . . (it’s your writing; of course, you believe it)
    • In my humble opinion . . . (what makes it humble, anyway?)
    • To tell the truth . . . (you mean you weren’t telling the truth?)
    • To be honest with you . . . (you weren’t being honest before?)
    • For the record . . . (are we in court?)
    • Let me be perfectly clear . . . (followed by bafflegab)
    • This may sound stupid but . . . (it already sounds stupid)
    • With all due respect . . . (prefacing a negative comment this way doesn’t change it)

    One More Phrase: “In Other Words”

    Another oh-too-common phrase to question is “in other words.” Why? Because it often introduces a clarifying sentence that follows a mediocre one. Instead of adding a sentence, go back and strengthen the first sentence. Then you might not even need a follow-up clarifying one. Test this idea in your own work.

    Ultimately, you strive for clear, intentional expressions of your thoughts and beliefs in everything you write. Don’t let phrases such as these get in the way!

    Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping administrative professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a Word Trippers Tips resource to quickly find the right word when it matters most. It allows you to improve your writing through weekly resources in your inbox, including a webinar, crossword puzzles, and a Word Tripper of the Week for 52 weeks. Enjoy a $30 discount at checkout with the code ODI at www.wordtrippers.com/odi.

    The post Word Alert! Pompous Phrases Can Set an Arrogant Tone appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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