Scared? So am I!

 

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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:

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 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

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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

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