Johannesburg #ExecSecLIVE

 

IMG_20180915_192443336

It’s taken almost an entire week to get my head clear after my trip to #ExecSecLIVE Johannesburg—Jet lag and a persistent sinus infection kept me from posting much on Twitter during the trip and work kept me from writing after returning home.

Where to start? Well, let’s say it is a long, long, long ways away from Washington, DC. We’re talking approximately 8,100 miles away and about 18+ hours of flying, not counting layovers and such.

Was it worth the trip? Damn skippy! it was.

Arrive in Joburg and meet up with my former co-worker and a really good friend,  Rachel. That night, a group of the speakers went to dinner to catch up, to get to know one another, and oh yeah.. eat some Springbok.  No, friends. I’m sorry. I am not that adventurous about eating.  But all reports were that it was a tasty option for dinner. I honestly cannot remember what I ordered. Seriously.

Our Trip to the Lion Safari Park.

img_20180905_103727792_hdr

File this under, ‘I didn’t react the way I thought I would’

This guy.. .this lion cub. I gave him a good pet. I was scared to death. He’s not dead, he’s sunning! and he and his brothers were quite snuggly with one another.

img_20180905_103715070.jpg

We also saw a lion pride, giraffes, ostriches, a panther, a leopard, wild dogs, and of course a meerkat or two. It was quite the experience.

fb_img_1536812390150
This giraffe is named Purdy.  Photo courtesy of Lucy Brazier.

But the most important parts of ExecSecLIVE? The learning and the networking.

Photo credits to Jon Lawrence for Executive Secretary Magazine 2018

As for my own experience, I was thrilled to attend the launch of IMA South Africa, present to colleagues from all over Africa, learn even more! cool tips, best practices and new insights from my fellow speakers. I was incredibly grateful to Susan and Cathy and all the Discovery folks for their hospitality.  Very appreciative of the concern shown for my health by attendees and colleagues alike. Superbly happy I made it through both of my presentations without losing my voice! Honored to meet the fine young women that have come through the ISIPHO bursary project. Looking forward to all those LinkedIn connections that are coming!

Still not able to put into words what this particular journey has meant to me. To put it best, I’ll borrow from the amazing Diana Brandl, #We’reAllInThisTogether.

 

The Best Part? You are not alone.

Tonight I came home from work and per usual, hopped on Twitter.

I knew things would be kicking off in Sydney, Australia for #ExecSecLive.  I immediately searched the hashtag and starting following posts from the conference.

Executive Secretary Live is a fantastic administrative conference that travels the globe.  So many administrative conferences: IAAP Summit, AIOP ACT, IMA, ASAP Annual Conference, AdminToAdmin, EPAA,Office Dynamics, AEAP, Be the Ultimate Assistant, and this list is hardly complete! For a complete list, visit /http://executivesecretary.com/associations for an administrative association near you. Or, visit http://executivesecretary.com/events/ for a full list of training events. [Self-disclosure, I’ll be speaking at Executive Secretary LIVE, Johannesburg later this year.]

I get super excited when I think about administrative conferences! We are NOT alone! You have had a crazy work experience, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that another attendee has had either the exact same challenge or something very close.  There’s an instant recognition. An instant acknowledgment of mutual respect.

That feeling is wicked awesome—and that’s a good thing! It’s such a relief and also a tidal wave of joy to meet our career colleagues.

If you are an administrative or office professional, I promise you with all my heart that you simply MUST find a way to get to an administrative conference. It will change your world, your perspective, and expand your network in ways you cannot fathom.

Here’s a tiny sliver of the friends I’ve made via admin conferences.  As Diana Brandl says, “We are in this together!”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Scared? So am I!

 

bitmoji-970353124

Fear.  I used to tell my daughter (and still do) that every human being deals with fears, and not every human being handles the feelings of fear the same way.

I love this topic because fear is awful. Fear is also powerful. Fear can drive us to bad decisions, bad changes, bad habits. Fear can also propel us forward. Fear can be the catalyst to not ‘going along’ when you don’t really feel like doing it another day. Fear can jolt us from complacency or stagnation.

I’m completing my first year in a new department at work.  New title. New supervisor. New teammates. New expectations. New software. New schedule. New responsibilities. Fearless? Try changing jobs within the company after being in the same role for almost eight years with the same team,  same boss, same job duties! I’ve managed. Not perfectly, but I’ve managed.

This year, I’ll be presenting a session focused on ways to really surprise your supervisor(s), and I mean that in a very positive way! when it comes time for  your annual review.  Annual reviews can make knees shake and self-doubts rise.  My goal is to give you tools and insights that will set fears to the side and allow your contributions to the organization to truly shine.

Honestly though, I am not afraid of sharing my IAAP Summit 2017 Ed Talk – and the topic  ‘Attitude of Gratitude’. It will be at 12:30 on Monday, July 24.  I’d love for you to stop by and hear it.  ~ K

PS.

I also invite you to read this great post by Dan Rockwell on his blog, LeadershipFreak-4 Forms of Stagnation That Destroy Leaders .

My favorite quote from the post?

Busy work is death incognito ~ Dan Rockwell

Administrative Professionals Week 2017

Dear Administrative Peers,

I hope this finds you healthy and happy. I hope your week is full of demonstrations of employer recognition that is valuable to you.

I hope that you recognize and understand your true value, not only to your company, to your co-workers, but to the overall economic good.

I hope you are able to see that people count on you, your work, your ability to communicate clearly and honestly, and to deliver on tasks. I hope you have the respect of those you work alongside.

I hope your supervisor(s), your company, your co-workers can acknowledge your continuous effort to keep all the pieces moving in the right direction.

For those of you that hate being in the administrative field, I hope you can find a different employer, or perhaps a different career field, that makes you content.

Some may say this week of recognition is nothing but a  made up holiday in order to sell more flowers or cards. Some  say this week of recognition is just a small opportunity to make others aware of the work we do.  I see it as a week of pride, almost like a homecoming celebration. One time a year, we gather as a profession to acknowledge the hard work loads and  sometime challenging personalities we encounter in our daily work. I like to think of it as one big ‘Clink’ of glass as we toast one another for a successful year.

Best wishes to each and every one of you. I am so very proud to be part of this community- For the exceptional assistant, this is not a job. It's a vocation. They've dedicated their life to it, and it compels them to greatness in the role.- - Jan Jones, the CEO's Secret Weap.

~ K.

 

Day 5- Countdown -ExecSecLive- My Tribe of Career Teachers

My career started in academics where I was working for a law school in New York out on Long Island. I directly supported the Dean of Records– and he was not only a Dean, but he was also a Rabbi. Little did I know he would turn out to be my first career mentor. He helped me navigate the college policies and procedures as well as took time to explain the meanings and history of many Jewish holidays and customs as I was not raised in that faith.

Move forward to last month when I was working on a gratitude list — a list of people who had been part of, or had crossed my career path over the last 25 years, and a pattern began to emerge. I considered this list of people (and it’s a fairly extensive list) to be my career tribe.

Each person I consider to be a part of my career tribe has had most, if not all of the following qualities:

  • A significant amount of volunteer time dedicated to serving others
  • Had a hobby or interest that brought them great joy
  • A history of traveling to and/or living in multiple countries
  • Spoke at least one additional language
  • Was interested in learning what made other people feel good about themselves
  • Was interested in improving communications and work relationships — even if it made both parties uncomfortable
  • Did not mince words about their concerns
  • Kept in touch with colleagues that they no longer worked alongside
  • Actively participated in social and business groups for personal and professional development
  • Acknowledged their own career challenges

Now, I’m not in touch with the entire list on a regular basis, but I can tell you that I still have a connection at almost every single company where I have been employed.  I have been diligent about keeping a contact at each employer, even if it is purely a courtesy.  And my single most important work lesson from each of these persons has been key to shaping my career perspective – best phrased by The Rolling Stones.

See below:

NOW PLAYING

 And it’s true…  I didn’t always get what I wanted, but I always got what I needed, whether it was a tough lesson, a superb review, thoughtful suggestions for improvement or a department transfer.  Do you have a tribe of career teachers?  Some of mine will be at #ExecSecLive in London. Can’t wait to give them a hug and tell them ‘Thank you’.

Eve 12/Day 11- Countdown to Executive Secretary Live

I wanted to provide a short list of people that I admire and learn so much from via social media. Sharing information is a good thing!

1. Kate Nasser /@KateNasser – Kate is one of the first customer service leaders that I connected with through Twitter. She does a 10am eastern tweetchat on Sunday mornings – #PeopleSkills chat. Her web site is www.katenasser.com

2. Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt.  These two gentlemen authored, World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.  They also are the most amazing tweeps- >sharing HELPFUL information, resources and advice via their respective Twitter handles @TedCoine and @MarkSBabbitt.

3. Brian Fanzo aka @iSocialFanz on Twitter. I met Brian through the #Tchat tweetchat on Wednesday evenings, 7pm eastern. Little did I know I was connecting with an unbelievable vault of social knowledge, but someone as excited about social as I am.  His site – iSocialFanz.com.  And, he even loves NFL and NHL as much as I do (albeit a rival team..but that’s okay).

More resources to be posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this thought from Vala Afshar, CMO, Extreme Networks — from his twitter feed in the last 24 hours.  I love to follow his posts.  Inspiring!  @ValaAfshar

ValaAfshar_03072015

 

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