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Process Improvement for Assistants

  1. Process Improvement for Assistants by Teri Case

Dear Executive Assistant,

I hope your 2018 goal setting exercises are going well. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the Goal Setting for Assistants workbook or if you are struggling with your goals. I am here for you!

I’m excited to tell you about a new workbook I’m working on for you: Process Improvement for Assistants. The objective is to build rapport and trust with your manager because you are an efficient process user and owner.

The format will be similar to Goal Setting for Assistants–it will be short but impactful, because I know you are busy and carving out time to focus on YOU can be a challenge when a million people need your input and assistance.

Though I have a list of areas to include based on my own decades of experience, I’d love to hear from you. What processes or responsibilities do you own that are sucking up too much of your time? You know, those time-killers, those things that have to be done in a timely manner, but otherwise aren’t a priority and they might be keeping you from focusing on what you really  need to focus on: the goals you’ve committed to.

I want to make sure I write the best workbook for you. Let me know if you have a responsibility or process you’d like me to cover.

Have a great day.

Teri

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Tis the Season for SMART Goals

How can I help you?

Wow! There has been a surge in subscribers to the Evolving EA newsletter and purchases of Goal Setting for Assistants. Thank you!

How can I help you with your goals? Do you have any questions for me, or do you want to bounce around a few thoughts?

I’m here for you. Send me an email: teri@tericase.com.

Happy Holidays to each of you. Let’s SMART the heck out of 2018 together.

Teri

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How and When to Leverage Recognition

Q&A

How do I toot my own horn with my manager and ask for a raise?

 

Let me know if you found this video helpful. And if you have any questions, please email me at teri@tericase.com or tericase@gmail.com and I will respond in a video*.

Have a great week.

Teri

*you will remain anonymous

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Filed under Executive Assistant Competencies, General, Goal Setting for Assistants, Judgment, Recognition, Uncategorized, Year-end Review

It’s Time to Assess, Reflect, and Move Forward

I Support You

I know each of you are facing two important processes that will not only financially impact your life, but will impact your job satisfaction and work-life balance:

  • Your year-end review
  • Your performance objectives for 2017

For your year-end review, now’s the time to pull out your 2016 objectives, recognition you’ve received, and any SMART changes you discussed at your mid-year review.

And you can use this guidance to set your SMART goals for 2017.

If you have any questions, want to toss around a few ideas, or need any help, please do not hesitate to contact me.

You’ve got this!

Teri

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Filed under Executive Assistant Competencies, Goal Setting for Assistants, Performance Objectives, SMART Goals, Uncategorized, Year-end Review

What Great Executive Assistants Have In Common

Proactive vs. Reactive

Every excellent executive assistant I’ve ever worked with has a similar trait: she finds a solution to a problem. Not a Band-aid to the problem, but a proactive solution to avoid the problem occuring again.

This trait is often demonstrated in the way she approaches issues in her personal life, too, which brings me to the following.

With the recent tragic murders our nation has suffered on both sides of the law, I want to proactively participate in looking for a solution and being a person of change in a productive manner.

From now until September 1, 2016, I am donating 100% of my profit on Goal Settings for Assistants to a proactive organization, The Badge of Life. You can read more about the proactive efforts of The Badge for Life and WHY I chose them in this newsletter on my personal website.

If you’d like to participate, please Click Here to order a paperback or e-book of Goal Setting for Assistants which includes an example of an EA’s annual performance goals from beginning to end.

Please feel free to share, share, share this newsletter. I look forward to updating you in September with the amount of money donated. Thank you so much for participating.

Until next time, stay proactive.

Teri

P.S. Do you have a topic you’d like me to cover? Please contact me, I would enjoy helping.

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Are You on Track for Success? Stay SMART

You Own Your Goals – Stay SMART

We’re about to enter the seventh month of 2016 and this means that you have six months left to meet the performance objectives you agreed to six months ago—goals that will determine your contribution to the organization and possibly a bonus, merit increase, or promotion. Continue reading

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A SIMPLE WAY TO KEEP TRACK OF RECOGNITION FOR A JOB WELL DONE

Toot Your Horn

We’re about to end the first quarter of 2016. The corporate goals are hopefully on track and earnings will be one of the measurements. Working closely with your manager, you’re probably clear where he or she stands on the department’s goals. But if you had to sit down with your manager today, would you be able to say how you’re performing? How often do you tell your manager about a compliment you’ve received for a job well done? Perhaps when you’re asked, you freeze up and can’t think of one off the top of your head.

We all want recognition and when the time comes for our reviews, we hope we will hear what we deserve. But we are assistants. The people in our orbit are used to getting nudges, reminders, and support from us. We should include reminding our managers how awesome we are and what we contribute to the organization, too. We are often the silent partner. Usually, we only hear when something is going wrong.

It’s time to toot our own horns or, at least, keep track of the horns.

I want you to start saving every compliment or word of praise and feedback you get in person, emails, instant messages, meetings…anywhere and everywhere. This will take you five minutes a week. If you wait until a mid-year or end of the year review, you’ll never remember how many times you were recognized by peers, managers, executives, or third parties.

Here is a simple way to collect comments that Toot Your Horn:

  • Create an electronic file on your computer titled “Great Job”
    • choose a location that’s easy to drag and save information
      • I always create my folder directly on my desktop
  • Learn how to do print screens from your computer
    • On a PC there is a shift + print screen function key
    • For a Mac, press Command, Shift, 4
      • A navigation box will come up and you can hold down the mouse key and highlight the area you want to copy
    • Look at applications such as Snagit which allow for quick screen captures
  • Every time you receive an email thanking you or complimenting you, I want you to capture an image of it and pull it to your Great Job folder
  • Create a PowerPoint, Notes, or Word document in your folder where you can quickly add a verbal compliment before you forget

Trust me, you’re too busy to remember every compliment so file them somewhere.

When you need to write your own review, open this folder. Include quotes in your review. Have a file ready for your discussion with your manager.

When you’re having a bad day and feel unappreciated, go to this folder and remind yourself that you have awesome days, too, and co-workers value your input and experience.

Toot your horn and when someone else deserves recognition, be sure to send them a quick email that he or she can capture, too.

If you have a moment, tell me about a compliment you received this week.

Have a great day!

Teri

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Managing Your Manager & Staying Organized

“Manage my business”

I recently met with an executive and asked him a simple question, “What makes an exceptional executive assistant?”

He said, “She or he knows how to manage my business.”

By business, he meant HIS business not the company’s–his priorities, his responsibilities, his everything from emails to calendar to meeting goals and expectations.

The next day I was speaking with an executive assistant I used to work with who I consider an exceptional assistant. She was preparing to interview for a role with an C-Level executive who has a reputation for being difficult due to his communication skills and lack of organization. My colleague and I discussed how she might best support someone like this manager and it evolved into this post because whether you are trying to be a more proficient assistant with a current manager or going to work with a new manager, there are two areas of focus that will improve your mutual success.

Be Resourceful

I am a firm, FIRM, believer that the best executive assistants can be measured by their degree of resourcefulness.

Someone who is resourceful knows how to find the answer and the best solution, and this equates to identifying the next steps necessary to meeting a deliverable. Someone who is resourceful can take a small amount of information and run with it. Being resourceful means the assistant has strong relationships with co-workers, knows who does what, understands the company’s policies and processes, and can anticipate needs and outcomes of his/her manager’s business.

In fact, whenever I’ve been interviewed for a role and have been asked, “How do you gain trust with a new manager?” I always answer, “I make learning the company’s resources, both in process and in people, my priority so that he/she can ask me to take care of something without worrying about the when, how, and what needs to be done to accomplish the request.”

Resourceful steps you can take whether you are supporting a new executive manager or want to improve the relationship with your current manager:

  • Dedicate time each day for integration meetings to learn the resources. If you are new, ask your manager if you can dedicate the entirety of your first week to Mission Resourcefulness:
    • Schedule your own meetings with key personnel, department managers and their assistants, process owners, and the IT team. Find out how everything works and who does what, and by all means,
      • Take notes in these meetings. Show these people you value their time and they can rest assured you you won’t need to call them back in one week to ask the same questions.
    • Take any online training courses your company offers.

Project Management

Next to knowing your resources, identifying the best way to stay organized is key. Each manager works and communicates differently. The tools you used to stay organized and on track with a previous manager may work for you, but it may not work with the new manager. It’s not just about your responsibilities, it’s about his/her responsibilities and the team’s responsibilities and this is where project management tools often become the best manner of staying on target with deliverables, due dates, and shifting priorities with more than one person on the team.

Here are a few tools I recommend. Most are free. I encourage you to carve out some time to check these out and see if one will work best for you and your manager:

https://todoist.com

https://www.wunderlist.com/

https://www.onenote.com/

https://trello.com

And the below is a how-to YouTube video for MS Entourage. It’s impressive.
https://youtu.be/CwASqTuMQcI

Do you have tips you want to share on gaining trust with a manager or staying organized? Don’t hesitate to chime in. Also, are there any specific topics you’d like me to address?

Happy Working.

Teri

Goal Setting for Assistants Teri Case

 

 

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One Way To Increase Your Manager’s Productivity

Ready! Set!  8 – 12 – 4 — FLEX!

Have you ever noticed how many meetings are scheduled to prepare for other meetings?

How many times have you heard your manager or a co-worker say, “I have so much to do, but I’m going to be in meetings all day.”

Unnecessary meetings and a lack of time to focus on goals and responsibilities is one of the number one reasons milestones are missed. Short of declining the meetings and looking like you, or your manger, isn’t a team player, how does one address this problem?

With calendar management.

After years of experience supporting an executive, I began blocking his/her and my calendar as follows:

Monday – Thursday
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: FOCUS
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: FOCUS
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: FOCUS

Friday
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: FOCUS
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: FLEX

FOCUS times are exclusively reserved for your manager to do his/her job and get stuff done, and therefore, make progress on milestones and goals. This is not time for meetings. It’s time designated for focusing and preparing for everything on his/her plate.

With technology and ‘open door’ calendars where we can and should be able to send invitations for meetings, some people, including other assistants, might be frustrated at these unavailable blocks of time. Your boss might even look at you like you’re crazy when you suggest the blocks. “How will it make me look? Like I’m not working!” he or she will object.

But here is why they are wrong and why it works.

  • It sends a clear message when your manager is available.
  • It sends the message that the departmental goals, and therefore, the corporate goals are the prize, and work needs to get done in order to reach the established milestones.
  • It sends the message to your manager’s direct reports that they, too, should mirror and establish times to focus.
  • It sends the cultural message that your manager wants his team to FLEX and get as much work done as possible every Friday afternoon so they can enjoy their weekends and come back refreshed the following Monday and accomplish even more.
  • It says, “You’re smart, you use your time wisely, and you are focused on the corporate goals.”
  • It says, “This is how goals happen.”

So talk to your manager, and make this suggestion. Give it a trial period. This simple change in calendar will increase productivity and team satisfaction.

Let me know how it goes, or if you need any help at admin@evolvingea.com.

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Filed under Accountability, Calendar Management, Communication, Executive Assistant Competencies, Leadership, Problem Solving, SMART Goals, Uncategorized

Why “The Evolving EA”

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As an assistant for the past twenty years I have experienced a wide range of expectations with regards to the role and performance in the role.  While some of this was simply management “style,”  it is also clear that the role has been evolving.  The changes are sometimes reflected in the different titles; Secretary, Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Administrative Assistant I/II/III, Senior Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Senior Executive Assistant, Executive Assistant to the CEO, Executive Coordinator, Business Administrator, and so on and so on. However, I have found that a comprehensive assessment of the role and its evolving place in the workplace has been lacking.

At any given time, an Executive Assistant can be someone who has been an assistant for forty plus years, or a recent college graduate with less than a year of experience. The following reasons might skew both the manager’s and functional team’s expectations of an assistant’s capabilities and therefore, create inconsistencies in responsibilities and even stereotypes:

  • managers who do not know how to leverage an assistant
  • co-workers lack of understanding of your supervisor’s expectations
  • the disparity of performance of assistants within an organization
  • varying expectations depending on geographical location
  • different skill set needs, or requirements across different industries
  • the performance of his/her previous assistant
  • unspecified competencies, skills, or responsibilities

Whether I’m screening a phone call, meeting a guest, or coordinating a meeting, in all interactions I am dealing with the person’s (manager, guest, consultant, co-worker, peer) single perception of what and who an assistant can be, and how an assistant can contribute to and impact department and corporate goals – one person  might think I am only capable of, and responsible for, answering phones, setting up meetings and greeting guests. Another person might understand that I am a user of all processes, touch all departments, understand the company from the ground up, and in fact, might know more about the inner workings of the company than most employees. And when roles are being eliminated and unanticipated gaps in process created, the responsibilities and slack are being picked up by assistants. Assistants are wearing more and more hats. The role is constantly evolving.

 

Our Mission

Evolving EA Mission

 

The Evolving EA™ website is about the assistant and for the assistant. Our goal is to provide a resource for assistants to become more proficient in the role and/or move above and beyond the role if so desired by focusing our time and energy on our core Executive Assistant Competencies: initiative, judgment, leadership, change management, communication, execution, problem solving, integrity, conflict management, accountability, and resourcefulness.

We want to educate and train other people about the role and encourage companies to leverage and recognize the competencies and skill sets of assistants, and their contribution to corporate goals rather than perpetuating stereotypes. Click here to print our mission statement.

One of the best ways to create clarity about your role with your manager and the company is to create clear annual performance objectives and the companies most of you work for are probably coordinating their goals for 2016 right now. Our next feature stories will be,

  • Creating Relevant, Meaningful & Measurable Performance Goals
  • Collecting Data for your 2015 Performance Review

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Good luck and let me know what you think.

Teri & Team

 

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