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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Announcement – CAP Exam Review Boot Camp

Offered through Northern Virginia Community College Workforce Development Division

REGISTRATION OPENS December 4, 2014

Get an intensive review of the key concepts and terminology required to be successful in taking the CAP Exam. Each section outlined in the CAP Exam Guide will be reviewed, and practice test questions will be given along with a discussion of the correct answers. In addition, the program will include helpful information on what to expect on test day, as well as tips about what and how to study. At the end of the session, you’ll be able to pinpoint exam content that may require additional study effort prior to sitting for the exam. The instructor is an experienced certification study group leader. Please note: This is not an IAAP endorsed session. 2015 is the first year IAAP will be offering the CAP exam in the online format.

TEST 1944 / 0.7 CEU / $89

01A         Alexandria Campus, AA 241

Sat, Jan 24             9 am – 4 pm

Instructor:  Kemetia MK Foley, CAP-OM

Leadership Credentials at Work- afterthoughts from the DE-MD-DC IAAP Fall Ed Program

When it comes to the workplace, career administrative professionals deal with so many interesting challenges, priorities and personalities.  When the day is done though – many just want to hear the words, ‘Thank you’.

I’m grateful to have worked in many organizations that encourage an environment of strong mutual respect and direct communication. Yet, I hear over and over from my peers that mutual respect and acknowledgement of administrative support contribution is rarely encountered in the day-to-day work.

What’s been your experience? Have you ever pulled a co-worker aside to address this issue?  I suspect my love of what I do for a living –shows through– and leaves my co-workers with little doubt about my dedication, experience, and skills. I’m honest about what I cannot accomplish. I’ve got the worst poker face anyhow.. everyone can tell when I’m tired, frustrated, or just not 100 %.

I have to have enough self-awareness to not let my fatigue or hangry (that’s hungry +angry for those of you not familiar with the term) take over my vocal cords. I get out.. Get a walk. Get a drink of water. Maneuver my way into an earlier lunch break.

Most importantly, I pay attention to what is going on with the industry, the company I work for and the people I work alongside. I don’t need to know their personal business– but I can tell when we’re all in a time crunch.. and I can certainly recognize the face of someone that is overwhelmed.

Lately, I’ve been reading more blogs on leadership and employee engagement to help me get a better perspective.

Here are a few of my faves-

Dan Rockwell, LeadershipFreak
Alli Polin, Break the Frame
Jon Mertz, Thin Difference
Liz Ryan, Human Workplace
Lolly Daskal, LeadFromWithin — though I read her stuff almost every day!

So how do we show what we know and how competent we are.. if we are invisible as support staff to those around us? That’s the question lingering in many a competent admin’s brain cells.

I’d love to read your thoughts on this.. please do share! Thanks.

Suggestions of Admins to Follow for APC14NationalHarbor

Hopefully you’re on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Or, better yet..you’ll join one or both of these platforms right after my sessions on social media.

In either case, here are some admin leaders you might want to follow– and they happen to be here at #APC14NationalHarbor this week!

@JuliePerrine — All Things Admin

@LucyBrazier – Executive Secretary Magazine and her PA, @MatthewWant

@BonnieLowKramen-  Author, Be the Ultimate Assistant and hosts many superb training events with @RedcapeCo (Vickie Sokol Evans)

@RhondaScharf – On the Right Track Training

These are just a few!  Enjoy the conference!

#KeepLearningKeepGrowing