Tagged: The Revolutionary Assistant Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • feedwordpress 09:25:44 on 2017/01/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , A Company of Owners, , Admin Nation, attendee perspective, , , Dr. Daren Martin, ISIPHO, lessons learned at conference, Lucy Brazier, , ownership, Peggy Vasquez, revolutionary thinking, , Tara Browne, The Revolutionary Assistant   

    Lessons in Revolutionary Thinking 

    Guest post by Tara Browne, DTM, 2016 Conference Scholarship Winner. 

    When I was awarded one of three scholarships for the 2016 Conference for Administrative Excellence, I was beyond excited. I looked forward to acquiring strategies and tools to advance my administrative career. I expected to be totally blown away by insights and techniques from thought leaders on the cutting edge of the administrative professions: new measures for peak performance; creative methodologies for problem solving; fresh perspectives for relating to those I work with every day.

    What I got was all of the above…and so much more.

    As speaker after speaker challenged our assumptions about administrative work, and I found myself being inspired by a profession that I had so long ago wandered into with neither purpose nor ambition. There were so many “AHA!” moments in this conference that it would be impossible to do justice to them all in a single blog post, but I’d like to share my top three with you here. These were paradigm-shifting moments that sharpened my sense of mission, strengthened my commitment to cultivating professional community, and expanded my vision for our potential to impact our careers, the companies we work for and the communities we serve.

    Ownership and Mission

    Dr. Daren Martin’s presentation on showing up like an owner – and not “just an admin” – provided many great examples of how we can choose to show up, from dress and grooming to meeting etiquette to original professional contributions.  At the heart of it all, though, he underscored that we must become clear on our personal mission.

    In my “other life” as an artist, I have a clearly defined mission statement: I create art and experiences that help others to recognize their creative potential, and I help them to manifest and celebrate that potential in ways that make our world more beautiful, joyful, loving and abundant.   As an administrative professional, however, applying this mission statement to my daily work is a stretch, to say the least. Often I feel torn between my personal mission and my professional reality. So when Dr. Martin casually remarked, “In fact, I have a couple of mission statements,” he kind of rocked my world.

    Wow. You mean I can have more than one?!

    I was, however, concerned about diluting my effectiveness by having conflicting missions. Instead, I realized, I could translate my artist mission statement to the fit the needs of specific focus areas. First, I broke it down into three parts:

    • What I Do: I create art & experiences…
    • Why I Do It: that help others to recognize, manifest and celebrate their creative potential…
    • End Result: in ways that make our world more beautiful, joyful, loving and abundant.

    Then I translated that to fit a task at hand – developing MentorsAndMasterminds.com:

    • Experience I Create: I help administrative professionals connect…
    • Activate Creative Potential: through the power of their stories…
    • Make Our World Better: to become heroes of their careers and mentors to others.

    I help administrative professionals connect through the power of their stories to become heroes of their careers and mentors to others. 

    Now that feels like a mission I can accomplish!

     

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    • What are the core elements of your personal mission statement: the “What”, “Why” and “End Result”?
    • Are there areas of your life that might call for a supplementary mission statement?

     

    Part of the Admin Nation

    Of all the presentations, I was perhaps most excited to hear Peggy Vasquez expand on her May 2016 webinar and the subject Develop the Power of Your Inner Circle: after all, it was her webinar that inspired me to create Mentors And Masterminds! As she shared her stories, I was transported right along with her, from her earliest DECA mentoring experience, to the challenge of writing her first book, to her vision for an #AdminNation. It was this third element that truly inspired me.

    In particular, Peggy talked about the concept of Ubuntu, which Wikipedia describes as “a Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “’human kindness’…often used in a more philosophical sense to mean ‘the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity’”. Further, Peggy argues, “human beings didn’t become the dominant species by competing, but by collaborating.”

    Certainly in my own career I have to avoid the most prevalent forms of competition in our profession: information hoarding, adherence to obsolete processes, and the vicarious exercise of executive privilege, to name a few. Unfortunately, many colleagues still seem to struggle to understand the value of collaboration, and that’s where this succinct value statement fits in.  This message – “Human beings didn’t become the dominant species by competing, but by collaborating.” –  paints a powerful word-image of how collaboration creates success that I can share to bring still more administrative professionals on board the “Admin Nation”.

     

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    • Where would you like to see more collaboration among your administrative peers? 
    • What methods – both direct and indirect – could you try to help foster that increased collaboration?

    A Revolutionary Vision

    The most impactful moment of the conference, however, did not come from one of the scheduled presenters, but from surprise guest and Marcham Publishing CEO, Lucy Brazier, whose presentation about the Isipho Admin Bursary in South Africa created a true paradigm shift in the way I see the administrative support professions as a whole.

     

    I understand the value of the work that we as administrative professionals do, of course…but the tribute paid to that value by colleagues and executives has often felt like little more than lip service. Many administrative professionals provide years of service with ever-increasing skills and responsibilities, but no corresponding path for career advancement and compensation. Having wandered accidentally into this career, I saw no way forward, up or out…and I struggled to rid myself of an underlying sense of professional deficiency and self-doubt.

     

    When Lucy shared the life-changing impact that the Isipho Admin Bursary will have for the scholarship winners, I could not help but feel appreciation for the privilege I have to be secure in my own job.  Moreover, I was reminded of Erick Gray’s famous words:

     

    Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

     

    According to the US Department of Labor, Secretary/Administrative Assistant remains the #1 job for women in the United States, and although recent data is harder to find, a 2011 Monster.com article estimates that 95%+ of administrative support roles are held by female employees. Given that so many women rely upon this profession, I realized that this role holds the potential to change the lives of not only women and the families they support, but even for healing communities around the world.

     

    In just a few short minutes, I gained a completely different perspective on the value of this work we do. For the first time ever, I felt truly proud to call myself an administrative professional, and inspired with a conviction that yes, I am a Revolutionary Assistant, and I can help change the world.

     

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT

     

     

    Did you miss the conference this year? Check out the following programs:

    The post Lessons in Revolutionary Thinking appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:28:23 on 2017/01/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , possibility, , , professional assistant, , , , team building, The Leadership Challenge, The Revolutionary Assistant, think tank, ,   

    From Possibility to Reality 

    This past October, I was honored to be part of the 2016 Office Dynamics International Conference, The Revolutionary Assistant. If you had asked me several years ago if it were possible to pull off a 400-person think tank, I’m not sure how I would have responded. Happily, I believe in exploration thinking, so today, I can say, “Absolutely!” And here’s why.

    About a year ago, I found myself on a catch-up call with Joan Burge, something we’ve done regularly in our relationship over the past 18 years or so. We were talking about my new company, 84.51°, and how my new building was designed to support innovation in our work with Kroger. I was sharing how I had started doing think tanks in our new “creative thinking space” using Compression Planning®, which sparked a conversation on helping assistants be more revolutionary, the theme Joan was planning for her 2016 Conference for Administrative Excellence. The seed of possibility was planted.

    Often we miss the opportunity to germinate the seed of possibility because we stick to only Yes-or-No questions. Without an explorer’s mindset, we might inadvertently rule out a great innovation. Typically, Compression Planning® think tanks are done with groups of 8-12 people. I had personally done sessions with up to 40, but certainly not 400 or more. If we focused on the question, “Can we do Compression Planning with 400 or more administrative professionals?”, we may have missed the opportunity.

    Often, questions come to us in yes-or-no formats, after all, it’s a much quicker conversation—the trick to making cool things happen, though, is re-framing questions in our own minds to a “How” format. “How can we make that work?” “How might we pull it off?” “How” questions nurture possibility. Compression Planning® founder, the late Jerry McNellis, liked to say, “If only people would take more time exploring how we can make something work instead of focusing on all of the reasons why something won’t work—we could accomplish so much more in so much less time!”

    Shortly after my initial conversation with Joan, I started enlisting a support network on how we might pull off a 450-person think tank. I called Pat McNellis at the Compression Planning Institute—had they ever done something on that scale before? I called my sister (and fellow Compression Planning Specialist)—would she be interested in helping me pull off something super cool? I reached out to the assistant to my CEO—would she and the 84.51° assistants be open to attending the conference and supporting the session onsite? In their book, The Leadership Challenge, authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner call out “enlisting others” as an important leadership behavior. Very rarely do we accomplish big things by ourselves.

     

     

    Having an explorer’s mindset and enlisting others created the possibility for taking something designed for 40 people and making it work for over 400. But one other factor came into play that helped move it from possibility to reality. About three weeks before the conference, I did a “test run” with the 84.51 assistants, who helped surface the need for some adjustments from what was originally planned. I reached out to some additional experts to help tweak and refine the plan. And my sister provided regular encouragement and advice. By connecting with and expanding my support network and staying open-minded to feedback and changes, we moved from possibility to reality and ultimately pulled off a cool and successful 450-person think-tank teambuilding event.

    In the end, the seed of possibility bloomed into a successful teambuilding session. It was a collaborative effort to move from possibility to reality by focusing on “How” instead of “if,” enlisting others in the vision, and being open-minded to feedback, other ideas and changes.

     

    Guest Post by Annette Brown

    Annette Brown is a master-certified McNellis Compression Planning specialist with over 20 years’ experience helping teams tackle complex business challenges. She started her career in administrative roles where she leveraged her Compression Planning skills to lead award-winning administrative teams, execute special projects and help her leaders deliver value and results for the company. With 17 years in the learning and development arena, Brown currently helps lead the learning organization for the highly innovative new division of Kroger known as 84.51° in Cincinnati.

    When not at work, she enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter, sewing, crafting and making traditional Italian dishes. Brown holds a Bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan University.

    The post From Possibility to Reality appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:38:11 on 2016/12/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , from idea to action, how to communicate with your executive, how to communication with your boss, how to get information from your leader, , , , , new skills for assistants, , , , The Revolutionary Assistant, ,   

    Revolutionary Ways Assistants Can Get Information from Their Managers 

    The theme for our 23rd Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence was The Revolutionary Assistant. Our conference was held in October 2016 in Las Vegas. We had 450 assistants from 11 countries attend.

    Our team-building activity for 2016 was called Compression Planning®: From Idea to Action and Results Faster. Annette Brown who is a certified McNellis Compression Planning Instructor hosted the session with my assistance.

    We were really excited about this activity because the main goal was to get assistants to come up with revolutionary solutions on time-old problems such as managers not making time for their assistants; managers not providing sufficient information to their assistants; handling constantly changing priorities; getting support for training and development.

    The concept I loved most about Compression Planning is to move “it” from the conversation to the action. For more than 4 decades assistants have been complaining about the same issues (I mentioned above). When I was an assistant 40 years ago we complained about not getting time with our executives; we complained about not getting enough information from our managers; we complained about not getting support for training.

    And yet here we are 40 years later and I still here the same complaints from assistants. We have to stop having these same conversations over and over. The idea is to come up with revolutionary answers that will create change and therefore create better conversations.

    Our team-building session was 2 hours long and we just touched the surface. I can’t possibly share everything with you about Compression Planning.

    But what we did promise our attendees is that we would share the 4 main issues we covered during the session and provide all the answers our 450 attendees developed. The 4 main topics to be addressed were:

    1. Revolutionary ways to get the communication and information you need from your manager.
    2. Revolutionary ways to approach your leader to get their undivided attention and more one-on-one time with them.
    3. Revolutionary ways to handle constantly changing priorities and increasing work volume.
    4. Revolutionary ways to gain true manager support for your ongoing professional development.

    I will write one blog for each issue and we will provide the 25 ideas for each topic that our attendees developed. By the way, all 450 attendees did not work on all 4 issues. We broke the room into quadrants and a section of the room worked on 1 of the 4 issues.

    Let’s take the first topic/issue regarding managers and executives not providing enough information to their assistants. First I’d like to give you some background information. In 2015, Jasmine Freeman sent out a survey to our webinar attendees and asked them to identify one thing that was standing in the way or was a barrier in their relationship with their manager. We received 700 responses!!! Wow. That was huge. And I read every single response. I realized that 80% of the assistants could resolve their problems if they would communicate with their executives or if they would have courageous conversations with their executives.

    From the survey responses, I created a chart to show our conference attendees the types of issues assistants were having around their executives and communications.

    communicationSince there is a long list of ideas, I have pulled what I consider the top 4 and will expand on them. Then you will see the entire list.

    #1 Idea: Establish and protect regular 1:1 time with manager.

    This is the #1 solution according to my 46 years’ experience in the profession on both sides of the desk!! I have coached over 200 executive/assistant teams. When I instruct them to have daily huddles as the solution to 80% of their issues, they always get back to me and tell me that is the best lesson I taught them….ever!

    You might be wondering what you would discuss in meetings with your manager.

    Here are some ideas:

    Daily Calendars Technology is not perfect and neither are humans. It is easy to place a wrong time or wrong date on a calendar. Or because so many leaders are independent, they place events on their own calendars and forget to inform their administrative partner.

    Accuracy in scheduling is extremely important. Leaders are TOO BUSY to have hiccups in their schedules. Plus it is embarrassing to the leader or the administrative person who set the schedule.

    Many administrators are now handling their leader’s pre-read meeting materials by printing, reviewing and flagging them as appropriate. Many administrative professionals are doing research, preparing outgoing pre-reads and filtering e-mail note strings for their leader in preparation for a meeting. (Gone are the days when administrators simply reserved a conference room and readied it for the meeting!)

    Discuss E-mail Communications When it comes to e-mail management, there are various approaches. Some leaders want their administrative partner to read all their e-mails and take action on those e-mails. Another approach is the leader who wants to manage all his or her own e-mails and forward specific e-mail to their administrative partner as appropriate.

    Your daily huddles are the time for leaders and the administrative partner to update each other on e-mail communications, whether it is a status update or clarifying new actions to be taken.

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

    Status Updates Provide your leader with updates on projects, meetings, items you are working on, and any other pertinent information. Leaders do not like to have to ask the status of projects and tasks. (Nor do they have the time.) A Star-achieving assistant initiates status updates.

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

    Follow-up Items Bring to your leader’s attention information requested from staff that you have not yet received. You can also let your leader know whose work you have received.

    Special Projects Find out what special projects your leader is working on or has coming up in the next few weeks. Ask if there are any portions of the project you can work on. Is there any research that needs to be done? Will information necessary for the project be coming from others inside or outside the company? If so, can you start assembling that information? Are presentations, graphs or charts required? If so, how many?

    Time: Investment or Expense?
    It might initially appear as though these meetings might involve a tremendous amount of time, but they don’t when you meet on a regular basis because things don’t have a chance to build up. In fact, it keeps everything flowing smoothly, reduces chances of missed details or tasks falling through the cracks, eliminates chaos and reduces last-minute crunches. Whether you view time spent as an investment or an expense can often be based on the filter with which you view time in general.

     

    #2 Idea: Develop confidence to not accept “one word” answers.

    This is when you ask your executive something like, “Can I help you with something?” and they say, “No.” Or you might ask, “Do you have everything you need for that meeting?” And they say yes. Imagine asking instead, “What else do you need to be fully prepared for your meeting?” Or “What are we missing that would be vital to you having a successful meeting?” By changing a question, you change the answer you receive.
    So if you want more information and you want to be in the know, then you need to ask different and better questions. Then you’ll get more of what you want.

     

    #3 Idea: Participate in leadership meetings.

    Often when I tell assistants they should sit in on their executive’s staff meeting or other leadership meetings, they ask how they will ever get their work done. Or they will tell me they are too busy to get away from their desk.

     

    Well, that is not thinking like a strategic business partner. If you are your executive’s business partner you need to learn and hear as much as you can about the business and what is going on with their work, team and project.
    I attended such meetings when I was an assistant. Yes, it was to be away from my desk but I always found it time well spent. I learned so much. I especially learned about upcoming assignments, projects, events and meetings. I heard the actions my executive delegated to others in the meeting. This allowed me to be more proactive; be better at following up on assignments and deadlines; anticipate workloads; anticipate barriers; and take the initiative. Your executive cannot possibly keep you up on everything they are exposed to. So it is your job to insert yourself so you can get the information you need.

     

    #4 Idea: Train manager on how to utilize admins (you).

    Great idea. If you don’t tell your manager that you aren’t getting the information you need, they will continue doing what they have always done. This is because they will assume they are doing a good job at communicating with you.
    Do yourself and your manager a favor by letting him or her know what you need in order to be more successful which ultimately makes your manager more successful in their work.
    Teach your manager to have daily one-on-ones with you. I did that when I was an assistant and my managers loved our morning touch bases. It was a great way to start our day.

     

    As you read the rest of the ideas generated by attendees at our Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, ask yourself the following:

    1. Have I tried this? If yes, did it work? If it did not work, why didn’t it work? Do I need to use a different approach? Maybe it wasn’t good timing.
    2. Is this a truly revolutionary idea? I have not thought of this or tried. Be willing to try it and give the idea sufficient time.
    3. Since you can’t do everything at once, pick the topic 5 ideas that you like and might be different from the approach you have used in the past.
    4. Then determine your strategy for implementing that idea.

    Revolutionary ways to get the communication and information you need from your manager.

    • Develop trust
    • Communicate your style preference for receiving information
    • Align schedules to have time to talk
    • Consolidate emails/list
    • Train to manage
    • Attend management executive and assistant retreat together
    • Shared calendar
    • Assistant copied on email
    • Utilize internal SM and messaging apps for knowledge sharing
    • “Stand up” meetings
    • Establish and protect regular 1:1 time with manager (courageous conversations with manager first)
    • Develop compression planning sessions with administrative professionals and management
    • Develop technology to assist with mind reading and increase efficiency
    • Ask for feedback session on both ends
    • Establish guidelines for communication by learning their communication style
    • Set-up meeting detail template
    • Creating a timeline to gather information you need to continue the work
    • Schedule daily meetings to discuss action list accommodating executive schedule
    • Schedule daily briefings in a flexible type of communication with a trial run period
    • Identify high priority issues and bring them to attention and insert agenda into calendar
    • Utilize color-coding to prioritize emails and calendar
    • Utilize communication applications like Slack, Asana and Trello
    • Prepare executive for success for real time updates
    • Utilize apps, texting, have your cell on your person
    • Protect downtime for executive
    • Adding buffer times to meetings
    • Schedule recurring 1:1 meetings with your executive
    • Establish equality
    • Getting a seat at the table

    Special Note for 2016 Conference Attendees:

    I’d like to present a few challenges to you:

    1. After you see this information, would you share the revolutionary thinking with other assistants? Maybe use your network to share.
    2. Share the top 3 things you learned with your manager.

    Best of luck!

    Joan Burge

    P.S. If you want to learn Compression Planning and see everything we did at our conference session, you can purchase our 2016 Conference on Demand. Plus you will receive 10 other fabulous sessions with our amazing speakers.

    The post Revolutionary Ways Assistants Can Get Information from Their Managers appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:55:36 on 2016/11/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Brandi Britton, , , , , Officeteam, , , , revolution, , , The Revolutionary Assistant, trailblazer,   

    What I Learned From 450 Revolutionary Assistants in Las Vegas 

    When I was asked to speak at the Office Dynamics Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, I was ecstatic. It was the first time my company OfficeTeam was participating in the event. And in my nearly 20 years around the administrative staffing industry, I had heard only fantastic things about the conference. So did the revolutionary event live up to its billing? Without a doubt.

    officeteam-conference-for-assistants

    Upon entering the opening session at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, I immediately sensed how warm and inviting the group was. It didn’t take me long to also appreciate the strength and knowledge that was in that room – from the speakers and attendees alike.

    You Say You Want a Revolution …

    During the conference, I spoke about “Trailblazing Your Way to Career Success.” I discussed everything from thinking like a visionary to showing your initiative to developing an executive presence – all factors that will help you blaze trails at work. One thing I want to emphasize is that there’s no time like the present to show just how revolutionary you can be.

    Administrative staff are increasingly gaining influence in the office by challenging the norm, taking intelligent risks and going above and beyond their traditional roles to show their value. By doing the same, you, too, can become a trailblazer. Stretching beyond your comfort zone is always a little scary, but that’s the only way you’ll ever grow.

    I’m constantly in awe of individuals like Jasmine Freeman who have advanced their careers by forging their own paths. She started as a temporary professional with OfficeTeam, honing her skills and knocking down challenges one by one. By taking on various assignments, she discovered what she was good at and what she enjoyed doing most. Not everyone will have the same career path, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking a similar approach with your professional endeavors.

    officeteam-sponsor-assistant-conferenceWhat’s Next?

    As a speaker during the Office Dynamics conference, I’m grateful for everything I was able to take away from my time in Vegas. Not only was I inspired by the wealth of information and stories, but I’m excited about the revolution taking place in the administrative profession.

    Keep the momentum going! Continue pursuing opportunities to learn and be challenged. Step up to the plate and try something new. You’ll be glad you did and reap the benefits.

    We’re all fortunate to have training pioneers like Joan and her team in the corner for administrative professionals. OfficeTeam and I will also continue to do whatever we can to further the charge!

    Written by Brandi Britton
    Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. In her role, Brandi oversees operations for the company’s offices throughout Los Angeles and Ventura County. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and places tens of thousands of highly skilled candidates each year into positions ranging from executive and administrative assistant to receptionist and customer service representative. Brandi is a frequent speaker on employment issues and has been interviewed by the media on career, job search, workplace, hiring and management topics.

    The post What I Learned From 450 Revolutionary Assistants in Las Vegas appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:22:05 on 2016/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , The Revolutionary Assistant   

    The Revolutionary Assistant Facebook Live Recap with Joan and Jasmine 

    Our 23rd Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, The Revolutionary Assistant. This is a video recap from Joan Burge & Jasmine Freeman.

    Some of the highlights you will find in this broadcast:

    • The Future Belongs to the Revolutionary Assistant//highlights from Joan’s opening keynote
    • Why become a revolutionary assistant?
    • Communication challenges assistants have with their executive
    • Courageous conversations
    • Be taken seriously by management
    • The cost of inaction
    • Educating management about the administrative role
    • Champions for the administrative profession
    • Intelligent risking
    • Helping your executive maintain a competitive edge
    • Star performers who receive criticism at work
    • Trailblazing Your Way to Career Success//highlights from Brandi Britton’s session (OfficeTeam)
    • Building your inner circle
    • Think like a visionary
    • Possibility thinking
    • Executive presence
    • Advocate for change
    • Confident decision-making
    • Learning from our mistakes
    • Compression Planning (and follow-up to come)
    • The ownership mentality
    • Developing the Power of Your Inner Circle//highlights from Peggy Vasquez’s session
    • Who is pulling you forward and other questions to ask yourself when building your Inner Circle
    • The Proactive Administrative Professional//highlights from Chrissy Scivicque’s session
    • and so much more!

     

    The post The Revolutionary Assistant Facebook Live Recap with Joan and Jasmine appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel