Welcome to the Who Took My Pen … Again? Annual Blog-a-thon for Administrative Professionals. If you are just tuning in, here’s the scoop! We are holding the 4th Annual Blog-a-thon for the Administrative Profession. We hold this blog-a-thon each April and the goal is to make assistants aware of the resources available to them and build a community of administrative assistant and executive assistants who want to learn and grow and flourish in their career of choice! To learn more about the blog-a-thon and how you can win great prizes check out the Administrative Professional’s Blog-a-thon Page for the full message.
Today’s chapter excerpt is from the chapter titled Investigate.
We don’t know, what we don’t know!
How many times have you said, “I can’t ask questions if I don’t know what to ask about?” I have experienced this many times in business and my personal life. In fact, I just went through a major remodeling of my bedroom and bathroom. It started at Thanksgiving and I wanted it done by January 3, 2012 (the one year anniversary of my husband’s passing.) It was not supposed to be complex and I ended up gutting my entire bathroom. Workers are just finished the first week in April.
Do you know what happened? We bumped into 50 issues because the sales person didn’t provide important details like I needed more electricity run through my bathroom walls to install this “fancy” whirlpool/spa tub to slabs of marble being cut appropriately for an under-counter sinks. How would I know what to ask? I have never engaged in a remodel of my home to this extent. I say, “Shame on me.” I should have done more investigating but I feel the person who is the “expert” should offer that information.
Well, don’t count on the expert to remember telling you every detail. Or for that article or resource you find to give you the details to make informative decisions. But here is what you can do.
There is no way around this one. If you want to sit in your chair and wait to handle “transaction-based” tasks that come all the way to your desk, you won’t be a good investigator!
Ask, seek, compare, analyze, resource, hunt, gather, glean, and energize your work tasks by building your investigative skills to gain increasing knowledge so that you can make better decisions and become that “go to” person in your organization who will proactively get the information people need and want in an efficient manner.
Glean the Internet for reputable sources of information on technology, grammar, etiquette, urban legend, news, culture, video, how-to instructions, arts, and so on. One administrator kept a “cool down” file of older items and publications from inside the company. When her executive requested an article from six months prior, she could easily get her hands on the information.
Become a good source for solid information. Verify your sources and don’t take the rumor mill to your organization as “gospel truth.” The old adage in journalism is, “verify, verify, verify,” and that is true. It’s a good rule of thumb to not pass along anything unless you have three sources for the information.
Once you have good sources, with Internet sites and blogs bookmarked, you can quickly put your hands on just about anything you might need.
We cannot underscore enough here that you will need to spend the effort to be resourceful. Read the Wall Street Journal after your manager is done with it. Scour the publications and journals for pertinent information. Learn what your manager likes to follow, and become her eyes and ears on the subject.
Joan Burge, Contributing Author, Who Took My Pen … Again? Secrets from Dynamic Executive Assistants