setting_goals_for_assistants

Dana’s Administrative Professional Advice – Ask an Admin

setting_goals_for_assistants

From Ernan:

When we created Ask an Admin we had hopes that we’d get questions from administrative professionals having trouble finding answers to their problems. We also hoped that we’d get answers from administrative assistants and executive assistants that wanted to help. Needless to say, it has gone better than we anticipated! (NICE JOB ALL OF YOU) That is why we decided that we are going to have one of our Guest Bloggers, Dana Buchanan, give her administrative professional advice. Dana is a 20+ year veteran of the administrative field and a good friend to Office Dynamics so we thought this would be a great fit! Enjoy Ask an Admin – Dana’s Thoughts.


The January 10th Ask an Admin was from Barb about setting goals at work. There were so many great responses and this is always such a hot topic of discussion we wanted to discuss it a bit further!

Sometimes it is difficult to set specific time-bound goals for administrative professional roles. When setting goals, a typical guideline method is S.M.A.R.T.E.R (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Readjust), but this does not always make the process easier. One suggestion is making a spreadsheet with the SMARTER method keywords as tab headers to help set focused goals and prepare for your next evaluation.

In a previous post about performance evaluations, I shared a few of my ideas for setting goals, general tips and some specific goals. In addition to great webinars, articles, and blog posts one of the best resources is always communicating with one another.

I want to highlight some of the great answers from our peers that were given as responses to Barb. There were several great tips and suggestions, I wish we had time to dive into them all, but please take a moment and re-read the post to see all of the great responses! I greatly appreciate all those who responded and helped answer Barb’s question.

Pauline’s response included examples of how she put some of her goals into action and what the outcomes of those forward-thinking goals were. In summary, she aligned her goals to the company’s strategy; setting goals that support and add value to the business and future thinking about how to support the growth of the company. Pauline’s goals directly support the values and goals of the company. She obviously researched the company’s desired future growth and asked management what their goals were, she then proactively created objectives to develop ways to support her team and company. This works because it focuses on facts and outcomes, requires communication, and encourages action outside the typical day-to-day routine.

Mindy’s response included a great question to ask ourselves. She stated – “I always try to ask myself these proactive questions: What do I want to learn or be included in? What tasks have been on other’s back burner forever; it would be great if we did or had ___ in place? It’s an opportunity for me to take the reins to implement.” We all hear discussion about ‘one day we should…’ or ideas being thrown around in meetings, but never followed up on. With this suggestion from Mindy, these back burner items are now opportunities and even catalysts for goals. I suggest keeping a journal, electronic spreadsheet, worksheet, etc. and write down these suggestions as they pop up, create a SMART goal if possible, and discuss this new opportunity with your manager during your evaluation or take action and turn the ‘one day we should’ into ‘let’s do this now’.

Maggie, SK, and Jean discussed administrative support team meetings. The meeting topics include: best practices, interacting with other departments, networking, a mentor program for new hires, training, speaker presentations, cross department discussion opportunities, and much more! If your company does not currently have a monthly or quarterly administrative professional meeting opportunity this project is a great goal to set. If you do have meetings set up already, some of the topics Maggie, SK, and Jean discussed could be great additions to add.

Top response takeaways –

  • Be in tune with your company’s goals and future direction
  • Find opportunity in ‘back burner’ items
  • Don’t be afraid to set action steps and start something new
  • Track opportunity throughout the year and set goals as opportunities arise
  • Ask questions and talk to other administrative professionals
  • Communicate with your manager and/or team about their goal focus
  • Create an opportunity for your team or other professionals to meet or add to the typical agenda. This not only a goal in itself, but also a way to discuss ideas for future goals

Thank you all for making Ask an Admin so popular and a great platform for discussion! If you have any other specific goal ideas please share them below.

Dana Buchanan is a 20 plus year professional assistant with a passion for writing and offers a unique and professional perspective to projects and brainstorming sessions! She enjoys helping others discover key steps toward their career focus, job search, or self-employment exploration by creating or editing resumes, researching a particular type of job search, discovering business ideas and the action needed to succeed and loves sharing interviewing tips! Dana is also available to speak to small groups.

You can read and follow Dana’s blogs at Success Encourager.

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