Admin-to-Admin Event- March 6 in Rancho Cordova, CA

A quick note from my friends at Admin-to-Admin

We have a few seats left at our March 6 Admin to Admin event in Rancho Cordova, CA! You are invited to join us for a day of education and conversation for assistants at all levels. Timely and relevant topics, creative learning opportunities, and strategies and best practices to be your professional best. Breakfast, lunch and snacks included. Deadline to register is March 4th! Join us! less www.admintoadmin.net

3 Words to Slay the Office Phisher

It takes a person of strong character to be the front line of defense.

At least a three dozen times in my career I’ve had to politely change the direction of a conversation. Or, not so politely but definitely directly.

Here are some prime examples:

Sabotaging Peers

“I need to see the (other) department’s projections so I can adjust my numbers”

“Did you ever have an issue with so-and –so? I had no idea there was an issue.

When a management team member is offsite for private meetings

“Do you know who they’re meeting with?”

“Do you know what meeting they’re at?”

When personnel changes start at the top

“What’s going on?”

“Are we being bought out?”

“Are other people leaving?”

“Do you know if they’ve hired the new (fill in position name here)?”

People can be downright sneaky and manipulative trying to get information from assistants under the guise of helping or speeding up the process. Sometimes it is just someone making ‘small talk’.

Usually these false entreaties are reflective of fear or lack of control over a perceived situation. The person or persons may think, sometimes incorrectly, that the assistant is in the know.

Slay the Office Phisher with these words

“I don’t know.”

Say it pleasantly. Say it with a smile. Be calm in your tone. Sometimes we have to repeat frequently. Stating it patiently over and over.  Other assistants I’ve known will use, “Let me get back to you” but then somehow forget to do so.

At a previous job I had a mid-level manager hassle me for a solid fifteen minutes. I finally put my hand up and said, “You know I’m not at liberty to comment on any of your questions, so please stop.”  The phisher was quite startled—enough so to mumble an apology and walk away.

Your reputation for being able to keep discreet information locked away is superbly valuable. It is important to employ these powerful words consistently and wisely

How I Stay Focused on Work from Home Days

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On a rare occasion, I’ll find myself with a day with few or no obligations. No obligations to drive my kid to a school function. No obligation to work or do laundry or to go to the grocery store.  Then, it hits me.

Oooh!  I can go see that movie I’ve wanted to go see. I can do a thorough cleaning of our guest room. I can go shopping. I can nap.I can write Thank You notes I owe. I can… aaaaaaaaaah!!
Too many choices!
Sometimes this happens. And I empathize with the issue of not being able to focus.

Here are some tips  (in addition to remembering to brew and drink coffee) I’ve gathered over the last few years that help me focus– especially when I’m working from home during a snow day because truly, I do have some obligations when I’m working from home and I need to get things done. I start work earlier when I’m working from home and therefore, build in more breaks to accommodate various distractions.

  1. Set appointments on my calendar for bathroom breaks and lunch.
  2. Set an additional 2 appointments for 10 -15 minutes each. The first appointment is to remind me to get up from my desk and stretch. The second appointment is for me to spend 10 minutes playing with my kid and my cat.
  3. Sometimes, if I’m super unmotivated- I’ll add in additional reminder appointments to ask me– Have you send so-and-so this? Have you posted that?

And, that is how I remembered that I wanted to post a blog today! But.. my timer says my break is done and I need to get back to work.

One month until I leave for Executive Secretary LIVE in London, and I can’t wait to meet so many amazing people!

What If Your Personality Outshines Your Brand?

I have to admit I’m concerned.

Sure. I joke about my love of coffee. I profess my love of Dunkin’ Donuts. I’ve been known to buy other people’s coffee for them if they are willing to pick up one for me as well.  Is this a problem?  Not in the big picture. But it is troubling me a wee bit.

You see, I’m a full-time administrative professional at a trade association, and part-time instructor at our local community college. I lecture on social media, prepare boot camp sessions for  the Certified Administrative Professional exam, and travel a fair amount as an invited speaker for conferences for administrative professionals. Recently though, I noticed on my Twitter (@OfficeRenegade) feed and my Facebook page that more comments and shares were sent to me about coffee/my love thereof/ than about the topics and subjects I cover during presentations.  Funny? Sort of.

So I brought part of this on myself by posting and checking in on Twitter whenever I’m drinking coffee, where I’m drinking coffee, who I am drinking coffee with.. and frankly. No one gives a damn. Not unless there is some amazing executive at Dunkin’ brands that is in desperate search mode for a kick-ass, social savvy executive assistant. (DM me if you exist.)

Seriously, I love that my friends and colleagues poke at me about my caffeine problem..but what I really would love, is to set my personality on the back burner and let my determination to bring the importance of EA/AA work to the HR/Recruiting masses shine forth! And that means, re-focus.

It’s fun to have a personality quirk that everyone knows you for (See Ted Rubin and his thing for fantabulous and unique socks) but Ted is really known for his speaking and his message that relationships are the key to success. His hashtag is #RonR (Return on Relationship).

My hashtag is #KeepGrowingKeepLearning.  I do this each and everyday. And my goal is to encourage my peers to do the same.  And.. if they’re drinking coffee while they’re learning.. well.. more power to them!

Providing Clear Direction—You’re Not Being Bossy; You’re Being A Boss

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AdminRenegade:

Looking at the boss’s perspective. I know I call my boss, ‘Boss’ because we have a great relationship and it’s not done in a snarky undertone. How’s your relationship with YOUR boss? This is a great article.

Originally posted on Blanchard LeaderChat:

Business woman. Isolated on white background.About 25 years ago I was running my coaching business out of my home office. I had an assistant come to the house twice a week to run errands and do some light bookkeeping for me so I could keep my focus on building the business and coaching my clients.

I don’t remember how it came up, but one day my husband remarked on how good I had become at bossing people around. I was floored and asked him to clarify. He pointed out how comfortable I seemed to be telling my assistant what to do. I countered and asked him how my assistant was to know what I wanted her to do if I didn’t tell her. Looking back, it was the first time I had made the distinction in my own mind between providing an employee with clear direction and simply bossing someone around.

And even with that understanding…

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Getting Feedback From Your Staff About New Employee Orientation

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Employee orientations are important to me. I’m not an HR professional. I don’t portray one on TV.

I am, however, a very observant administrative professional– often the person that new staff come to ask questions they don’t want to ask anyone else.

What do I do if I lose my security card?
The staff calendar says we have a half-day – what time is that?
How do I send a package?
Do we have a courier service?
Do I get reimbursed for my cellphone usage?
Am I really supposed to check my email over the holiday?

These are simple examples. But I was thinking about this today ..are there companies that do a survey of their employees to ask — What do you wish we had included in new employee orientation? What information do you think should be included in new employee orientation?

I’ve been at companies that had superb new employee orientations or ‘on-boarding’– an actual human being was assigned to be your go-to resource for your first 90 days. Saves a lot of hassle. And I think staff that offered to be an on-boarding resource were able to add that to their annual review as well as include that person in their 360 review at the end of the year.

I’ve also worked for a company that handed you a 3-ring binder – with tabs and was told to ‘read this, sign the last page and turn it in with your W-4.

I just have to think that building that working relationship would be so much easier/stronger/better — if the on-boarding process was evaluated annually– and adjustments were made as new staff provide feedback. Or, as current/veteran staff provided feedback on the type of questions they received frequently.

Just one of those random thoughts that popped into my head today.. and I’d love to get your thoughts on it.

Happy Weekend to all.

The Great Divide- Whiners vs. Doers

My blog title is classic click-bait.  There. I said it.

How did I learn what click-bait was? By commenting on blog posts that were specifically driven to get commentary–preferably feisty commentary on a touchy-subject.  It was a great lesson for me.

I clicked on a provocative blog title, read said blogpost–had the appropriate emotional spike and Boom! I typed in my comment..which led to comments on my comment, and so on. The lesson was– for me, to think about why I wasted energy commenting on a post that annoyed me. Was I really contributing to the conversation?

What does this have to do with Whiners vs. Doers?

Whiners say, “What’s the big deal with reading blog posts, or Twitter, or any of that stuff? I don’t have time to figure it out.”

Doers say, ” Well, I’ll give it a try and see what I can learn. It seems to be important to my supervisor|company|industry. At least I can try to get a handle on what’s what.”

Jim Keenan validated this today during his guest spot on #sshour, a G+Hangout hosted by Brian Fanzo and Rachel Miller. It so happened today’s Hangout focused on the Importance of Personal Branding.  So be a Doer–  Watch the replay of today’s #sshour Hangout and really understand that being proactive isn’t limited to senior managers, CEOs or sales staff– it’s a MUST for all employees. It’s vital to remain relevant as an Administrative Professional in the workforce. We must learn to jump in! Be a Doer.

** NOTE** Jim has some NSFW language in his responses–so consider  yourselves forewarned.***

 

 

Measuring and Moving On

Inventory-taking.  A relied upon business tool to know where the organization stands in terms of assets on-hand, and helps prod the discussion of what other assets may need to be acquired or replenished or sold.

This has been an amazing year for administrative professionals. We have received more press coverage than any other year in terms of presenting the powerful role we play in the workplace. Global peers collaborated and shared the progress of IYOTSA (International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant).  We had a bounty of administrative conferences and training opportunities from which to select– from local PA and IAAP chapter gatherings to specialized conferences focused on a specialty area such as celebrity, business-celebrity and private assistant to the very well-to-do, and onto the global professional development summits like EUMA annual meeting, Administrative Professionals Conference (APC), the Educational Forum and Annual Meeting (EFAM) of IAAP,  and last but not least Executive Secretary LIVE.

Author and professional speaker, Bonnie Low-Kramen stated it best when she said, there is no better time to be an administrative professional. I whole-heartedly agree with her!!

So, what does this have to do with measuring and moving on?

I took a measure of my year in the profession. Some goals accomplished. Others, like taking the Excel MOS exam, not. I had more local teaching and writing to do. My efforts to blog more frequently were met with a writer’s dry spell which left me disheartened. And now, having measured what I did and didn’t get to this year—it’s time to adjust my short-term and long-term stretch goals.

Taking time to do this is really an investment in my sanity and my ability to make progress. It also helps me become better at accepting/declining commitments and focus on loving what I without becoming burned out.

Here’s my suggested method for measuring and moving on.

1)    Take a day off. Get your family out the door. Get some caffeine and sit down with a blank notebook or your laptop.

2)    Divide the document into quarters.

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I find that writing these thoughts out—helps dump some of the junk, allows me to box up some other ideas for storage to be re-visited later and be okay with exactly where I’m at personally and professionally. It gives me permission to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly as a process for moving on.

3.  Now.. go get some fuel. If you need to, schedule your re-fueling stops!

This is not necessarily about food—but what makes you energized? Is it music? Art? Time volunteering at your synagogue? What are the things that give you energy?

Music, teaching and connecting w/like-minded friends are my three fuel sources, in addition to hugs from family and friends.

4. Feed the positive. Starve the negative.

Look at how far you’ve come.. not how far you have to go. I’m always amazed at the wonderful, joyous doings of my peers and friends. I’m not saying stick your head in the sand. Instead, what can we do to combat the negative? Less gossip. Less TV news. More time with elderly relatives we may not have with us for long. Notes to friends we’ve lost touch with… Enjoy the unconditional love our our pets. Be grateful for the job…even on days it drives us NUTTY! Know that everyone has challenges going on behind the scenes. Love the things that matter most to us. Tell others when we appreciate them.  You get the idea.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got a hot cup of tea and a blank notebook waiting for me.  Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season and a very Happy New Year.

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PS. I’m reading two books that I consider to be vital resources for administrative professionals as we grapple with the rapid change in communication methods (text, voicmail, social), and the evolution of the workplace.

1.     The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users –
Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

2.     A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive-
Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt

Ambition is AWESOME…but Get Your Priorities In Order

AdminRenegade:

A great share from Ayanna Castro. Reminds me of the Anna Quindlen quote.-(paraphrased here) We can have it all.. we just can’t have it all at once. There’s a season for everything.

Originally posted on Ayanna Castro:

Imagine this, you are standing on the proverbial corner of opportunity and “holy-cow-this-is-amazing”. The opportunity is so amazing you can’t believe it just dropped in your lap. You are in the process of fulfilling your dreams and then…you see your child crying.

Welcome to my reality. I was offered an opportunity to host a talk show on a local television cable station and I was beyond excited. I’m talking excited like it was network television with syndication and I was one step closer to being the next Oprah. Then a series of obstacles began to appear: the studio hours for taping weren’t conducive to my 9 to 5 job with benefits, sites to shoot on-location interviews were hard to come by and it took forever for my volunteer camera person to get trained. I came up with a plan to work around them. And then…I saw my baby girl crying…

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