ABOUT THIS VIDEO
WEEK 1: Employee Engagement For Administrative Assistants
For the first time in history, the administrative professional’s job description hints at full engagement of cognitive powers. If you are to attain the inner circle assistant spot and maintain it, your intellect plays a large part in your success. Learn how to achieve excellence, impact your company’s results, and be recognized as a star performer. (16:03 mins)
Welcome to Week 1 of our 26 Week series. I am so happy that you are joining me today.
Before we launch into the actual administrative competencies, which we will start in Week 2, we need to take a look at how you see yourself in the administrative profession. That will set the stage for everything else you do from this day forward.
I want to share an excerpt from a chapter in my Become an Inner Circle Assistant book, it’s called Not Just a Pretty Face or Brains – Who Needs Them? I’d like you think about yourself as I read this to you. For the first time in history the administrative professionals job description hints that full engagement of cognitive powers sure it takes brains to learn tasks such as changing an ink cylinder in copy machines but when the job description includes identifying goals for the coming year meshing them with your executive’s, department and organizational goals; being prepared to track progress at specific intervals; being accountable for success or lack thereof – it’s easy to tell this is not a job for dummies. You are not a puppet and someone else is not pulling your strings. You’re in charge. You have power and if you are to achieve the “Inner Circle Assistant” spot and maintain it, your intellect plays a large part in your success. So if the best career advice you have received so far is to “dress for success” get ready to think bigger. And THINK is the operating word!
We are going to explore a couple of key points here. First of all, administrative professionals are no longer order-takers and task-doers. Thank goodness! I started this professional in 1970, I have seen the changes. I am happy to see how this role has evolved. What’s interesting though, often when I mention this in presentations – you are no longer order takers and task doers, you have to think and be cognitive I see their heads nod and say “I know Joan, you are right.” What happens though is when I am onsite in a company doing one-on-one coaching sitting at the desk with the assistant for two full days and I watch everything they do. I listen to everything they say. I get inside that wonderful brain. I realized they are not looking at things cognitively. A couple of ideas that I want you to think about as we begin, if you are going to join the inner circle and achieve administrative excellence you are going to have to get involved in the business. This is the biggest thing that I am hearing from executives today. “I want my administrative assistant to be involved in the business.” And I know exactly what they are talking about because I expect the same thing from my executive assistant.
So how do you do that? After all, managers are only going to bring you in so far into the business. It’s not because they don’t want to. It’s because they are really busy. What you need to do is:
- Read what your executives read.
- Really read the e-mails (not just sift through them).
- Listen to everything your executive is saying and take it all in. Try to understand what they are involved
- in. What their:
- passion is,
- mission is,
- role is within your organization,
- hot points are.
- Be fully involved. They way I describe it is you are not sitting on the sidelines of a football game. Helping
- lead things down the sideline, no, you are rolling up your sleeves and getting in the game. And that is a
- whole different feeling and whole different perspective than just knowing what’s going on.
Engage all your senses. Engagement is a big issue in today’s workplace. You can go on the internet and do all kinds of searches. Just type in “employee engagement” you will find billions of dollars are wasted in our country because people are not fully engaged. So, yes, we physically show up for work, but are we mentally there? When you get into work you need to engage all your senses and be engaged throughout the day.
Make things happen. If we look at this role and go back to the task doer, order taker where you basically took what you were told to do and you got it done, very well in fact. But today it’s different. You’re the one who is going to make things happen. Like I said, you are not sitting on the sidelines. You’re taking the ball and you’re running down the field! You’re calling the plays!
You have to change your self-perception. I want you to stop for a second. Think about how you see yourself in this role. Do you see yourself as someone who has hidden authority and power? Do you see someone as an intelligent human being who can contribute great ideas and be a catalyst for change? Or do you see yourself as someone who better follow the rules and do exactly as you are told? How you see yourself in this role is how you are going to behave.
Update old habits. This is very important. Why is that seasoned assistants feel like they no longer need to learn? This role has changed dramatically. Certain skills and competencies will never change. What I said about attitude in 1990, I will still tell you today in this program. But, there are many things that have changed. You need to continually update your old habits. This ties back to brains, use those wonderful brains that you have because I know you have great ideas to contribute!
Embrace change. If you are going to be this cognitive being we need to embrace change. All of us do. Because change is all around us and it’s going to come whether we want it to or not. The profession has changed and it is going to continue to change. You have to be creative. They say we only use about 7% of our creativity. Unless you are in a creative role such as graphic design. You can use your creativity every single day and you don’t have to be an artist. You don’t have to be a writer. All day long as things are coming at you, use your creativity! How can you streamline processes? How can you save your company money? How can you help work through that issue or that problem? How can you enhance your role? How can you make it more exciting? There are a hundred ways that you can be more creative in what you do.
Pursue excellence. What’s the title of this series? 26 Weeks to Administrative Excellence. But I’m only giving you 26 weeks. You are going to learn as you go through this program excellence never ends. It is an ongoing journey.
I want to share with you a very special story and I am so excited about this. I met an EA in 2000. I won’t tell you her name. I met this fabulous executive assistant. She was working for a CEO at that time. She was fairly new to this role but had been with the company for some time. I was hired to work with her one-on-one and do some coaching. I have watched this person grow for nine+ years now. She has challenged herself; she is truly a cognitive being. She has done all the things I have been telling you about. She is making things happen. She changed her perception over all these years. She is creative. She pursues excellence. She is learning and she has not stopped since I met her. Now let me tell you what’s happened, what is so exciting. She is still an executive assistant for a CEO. However, she has broadened her horizons; she is now a trainer teaching the Star Achievement Series® to their administrative professionals. She has grown. A reporter from a major publication recently interviewed on “what makes a great assistant?” So let me tell you what is so exciting. I received an email from this reporter after he interviewed this EA. Here is what he wrote me, imaging someone writing this about you:
“I can’t tell you how deeply impressed I was by this magnificent, that’s right! I said magnificent, business woman. I hadn’t talked to her for five minutes before I was much to my amazement in consternation. Struck by a strong suspicion that I was talking to someone – my marked superior in intelligence, character, political skill and business sense. Someone who for much of her life has undoubtedly been vastly underestimated from people, like myself, ought to have known better. A chastening and sobering experience, I can assure you.” This is about an executive assistant!
As I said this would not have happened, J’s journey would not have blossomed into what it has today. I, in fact, talked to her this morning before we started this recording and she said to me, “Joan, I never would have imagined this for my career. When I sat her yesterday and thought about how things have changed in my life over the years I wouldn’t have believed this.” I don’t take credit for this. J should take credit. It is because she sees herself as a cognitive being. She sees herself as a value-added partner in the profession. She makes things happen. She engages all her senses. So before you move forward from today, I want you to think about how you see yourself in the profession. Are you proud to be an administrative professional? Is it your career of choice? Or are you just doing it to pass the time until something better comes along? Obviously, I think if you are paying attention and you are watching this webinar/video right now, you are serious about your profession and good for you because it’s a fabulous profession.
Activity for the week: (Are you ready?)
1. Identify how you can get more involved in the business.
2. What tools or methods can you use to learn more about your organization or your manager’s work?
3. For one week, make a concentrated effort to be a good listener. There is so much we can learn when we actually listen. This tends to get neglected when we do communications training. Yet, this can be the big difference in your success.
4. (If you are watching with an administrative group) List 5 ways you can pursue excellence and list 5 ways to embrace change.
We’re just getting started. I hope you are energetic, enthusiastic and I hope you are going to come back next week!