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!

Getting Feedback From Your Staff About New Employee Orientation

coffee

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.

wordtable

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.

20141208_113511-1

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

An Interview with Victoria Rabin, CEO & Founder, Executive Assistants Organization

victoria-rabin-md-frame

CEO / Founder
Executive Assistants Organization (EAO)
Behind Every Leader Events (BEL)

Ever since Victoria Rabin came onto the platform for administrative training, her passion and energy has captured the attention of assistants all over the world.  Her unique approach, her ability to garner presentations from some of highest level EAs in the business world, and her willigness to take risks has taken EAO on a fantastic journey of almost three years.

I had the benefit of speaking with Victoria and several members of her team at the November 2013 Behind Every Leader conference in New Jersey.  I later approached her about sharing some of her story with you.

Q1. You’ve had a whirlwind tour ongoing for about two years. What would you say has been your biggest challenge during this time frame?  How about your biggest success, the thing you want to brag most about?

A1. Indeed, in a mere two years EAO has changed lives, including mine.  What once was an inspired vision has now been realized.  And with that, EAO has the honor and the responsibility to take this vision to the highest heights.

This is an ongoing mission, and just like all remarkable quests, it has not and will not be an easy.
But let’s face it, If it were easy, EAO would have been realized a long time ago. For decades, Assistants have not been given the resources and support they truly need to become indispensable in their role. Why? Because seldom times do assistants make a stand. Until now.

The challenge with redefining any industry to one of power and leadership is simple.. Change is not always welcomed without a guaranteed advantage or certainty. Having successfully launched twelve active EAO Chapters, multiple EAO events and Behind Every Leader Conferences, as well as garnered some highly respected press coverage, I believe that EAO has broken through and become an epicenter for senior Assistants around the globe.

Q3. Your assistants must be amazing. Tell us a bit about delegating and working with assistants after having been employed as one for many years.
 
The amusing irony is that I was a successful Executive Assistant working for great Executives.  I am now a great Executive working for the success of hundreds Executive Assistants.

My team at EAO is extraordinary.  We practice what we preach and ensure that communication, trust, and upmost respect remain at the forefront at all times. No one can create anything to an exceptional standard solo. Working in unison is the only way to be the best of the best. I adore my team.

Q4. Do you see distinct tiers re: the level of skills and professionalism among administrative professionals? I know I perceive that to be the case.  What do you think pushes some administrative professionals to excel while others do not?

There are administrative professionals and there are career Executive Assistants.  I can say with conviction that the two are different breeds. EAO works alongside the career assistant.  This remarkable group of individuals are hungry to excel and possess an insatiable drive for excellence. Much like their relentless Executives. . They do whatever it takes.

EAO is not for everyone. Intentionally. We work with EA’s that make a stake in their future. That invest in their future and exude a dedication to excellence.

Q5. I know EAO is headquartered in San Francisco.  Have there been any cities during your travels that have surprised you?

At EAO we do not comply with one fits all. Each and every EAO Chapter boasts its own heartbeat. . Its own character.  We ask the most important questions and then we listen intently to the feedback we receive.  Every EAO is completely different. . And this is what matters to our members, and to us.

Q6. What do you think is the toughest  skill and /or the toughest soft skill for administrative professionals to conquer?

Communication is and always will be highly sought after topic for development.  EAO teaches members how to build a symbiotic and unbreakable partnership between the EA/Executive.
The toughest of all is staying current with the latest technologies, apps and efficiency platforms. The only way to always remain ahead of the curve is to consistently educate yourself.  At EAO we are very privileged to have technology webinars seminars and workshops taught by industry giants.

In addition to continued education and training (which is paramount in every quest for excellence) the equally most crucial aspect of personal and professional growth,  is sharing knowledge expertise and best practices with each other.  At EAO we urge members to make a habit of doing this each and every day. Our slogan ‘every Member is a Mentor’

Q7. (And I gotta ask this..!)  Have you ever caught yourself being star-struck when working with a celebrity or their assistant on BEL?  Tell us about it.

I have met some incredible people over the years. Needless to say, this is one of the ‘perks’ of leading this organization.  The interesting part is that each and every celebrity employer and his/her assistant was soughd out and approached, often more times than once, by myself and team with an undeniable and relentless proposition to join us on this exciting journey.  For me personally, receiving their acceptance and shared belief is the most riveting part of the initial introduction

But let’s face it, the real stars are the assistants.  They are the ones that make the Executive’s world turn each day. And now it is our chance to place each and every one of these remarkable individuals on a pedestal. One of my favorite quotes portrays how EAO value our members;

“Next to Excellence is the Appreciation of it” ~ William Makepeace