Tips for Making Your Office Thanksgiving and Holiday Events Unique & Rewarding Experiences


Everyone knows the basic ingredients for a delicious holiday feast. We have all the staples from cranberry sauce to mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and of course turkey- but what about the ingredients for the perfect office Thanksgiving celebration? 

Food is a great component of any get-together or office event, but let’s take it up a notch this year by focusing on the reason for this holiday season – giving thanks and recognition. We have mapped out a few ideas that you can incorporate into your workplace “TeamsGiving” to not only bring everyone together, but also to feed their soul. 

Give Thanks

It’s right there in the name of the holiday itself, but we look over it so often. Maybe it’s the food? Taking time to recognize those that you are thankful for is incredibly important, especially when it involves the workplace and your team. It’s a proven fact that people perform better when they feel appreciated, so leave no man (or woman) behind. Start a movement in the office for everyone to leave notes to those that they want to thank. It could be anything big or small, anonymous or not. Make it the focus for any Thanksgiving event that you host in the office and remind everyone the reason we are celebrating in the first place. 

Wall of Thanks

Justifacts shared their “Wall of Thanks” showing an excellent example of “TeamGiving”.

 A favorite activity idea that has been trending recently, is about workplaces creating a “Wall of Thanks”. This can be done throughout the week or days prior to your event, or on the day of. Simply put, it is a wall of Post-its that team members are encouraged to write public praise for anything a coworker has done for them – big or small.

Leave Post-it pads and pens next to a wall space (someplace public enough for everyone to notice it) and start the trend yourself. Write a few notes and post them up. Once the fire is lit, it is roaring – this heartwarming activity catches on very quickly.

 Sidenote: We encourage you to post photos of your completed “Wall of Thanks” with the hashtag #wallofthanks and be sure to tag us on Instagram so we can like and share this amazing trend! @adminuniverse

Story Telling Time

If you have a little more time in your event, this is a wonderful opportunity to allow team members to tell their own stories of thankfulness, inside the office or from their personal lives. This activity is one that really brings everyone closer by helping each other to share their backgrounds and find common ground as human beings. Throughout our busy workdays, rarely do we have the chance to share stories like these.

Give Back as a Group  

It is no secret that giving back to others and your community is a rewarding experience for all involved. Unfortunately, we get busy or are too shy to venture out on our own to participate in these various types of opportunities. Making it a group function will generate a huge impact on all involved. Feeding the homeless, organizing a canned food drive, bringing holiday baskets to those in the hospital, participating in local charity events – there are so many options when it comes to helping. 

Use Your Expertise

You haven’t made it to the role you are in without education, experience and trials – that makes you an expert. A great way to reach out to your community and give back to others is getting involved in a program that mentors students who are aiming for your profession or industry. Whether it is a one-time speaking engagement or a continuous one-on-one commitment, being able to share your journey and your gems is a perfect way to contribute to the community during the holiday season and throughout the year. Find a cause that resonates with you and your team and do it together! 

From AdminUniverse™ and myself, sending you warm wishes for a healthy and fun holiday. Thank You for reading my blogs and posts, your likes and shares really do inspire me to push myself to be the best Servant Leader to our Administrative Profession.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

 

Brilliant Executives; Executive & Admin Synergy


6 Tips for Maximizing Your Productivity

As an Administrative Professional, managing your day is the most important way to set yourself up for success. Obviously, this is a highly valuable concept to implement for your Executive as well, being that they depend on their Executive Assistants for the structure in their days. Being able to learn these 6 productivity tips and being able to pass them along to your Executive will strengthen your partnership, add value to your role, and launch you into further success!  Check out these Points of Wisdom (POW):

POW #1 Give Yourself a Break Every 90 Minutes

Our bodies operate on an energy cycle of at 90-minute intervals throughout t

he day. When we’ve been working on something for an hour and a half or longer, it’s natural that our alertness levels will go down and our attention

 will wander, or we’ll feel drowsy (or start checking Twitter or Facebook).

The counterintuitive secret to sustainable great performance is to live like a sprinter. In practice, that means working at your highest intensity in the mornings, for no more than 90 minutes at a time, and then taking a break.

So, the next time that drowsiness begins to take over, step away from your work for a few minutes instead of pouring another cup of coffee. You might be surprised how much you’ll get done in the long run.

POW #2 Create “Do Not Disturb” Signals

How frustrating is it when you are just getting into the zone on a big project and then one of your colleagues decides to visit your desk? Worse, research shows it can take up to 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.

Whether you need to stay focused on intense tasks for a couple of hours a day or you’re working on a big project, using a system that informs people of this will get them into the habit of sending you an email for non-urgent tasks instead of dropping by your desk.

A new method of signaling that you should not be disturbed in the office is to put a “Cone of Silence” onto your desk to communicate to the team that you need to be able to focus at that point in time, and you should not be disturbed unless there is a dire emergency, 

POW #3 Energy Management

You know it’s important to budget your time wisely—but it can actually be more effective to also manage your energy. Optimizing your workday by doing your most concentration-intensive tasks during peak hours, when your energy levels are at their highest.

If you’re a morning person, do your most important tasks first thing and save the tedious, mindless tasks for later in the day when your energy is waning. Not sure what your peak hours are? Try energy mapping to find out and make the most of your workday.

POW #4 Don’t be a Slave to Email

Try checking email only at specific times of the day. Why? Instead of feeling that you have to respond to emails the minute they hit your inbox, you can save time and stay focused by setting a schedule for checking and responding to email. Checking email only twice a day is not practical for assistants, however, checking once an hour is still effective.

Shut down Outlook, turn off new email notifications on your phone, and do whatever you have to do to muffle the interruption of email.

Depending on your position, this may not feel like an option—especially if your boss or colleagues rely on you for quick responses. But you may be surprised at how supportive people will be about your new productivity strategy when you explain it to them. You can also set up an autoresponder with a message explaining when you’ll be checking email again and how people can get in touch with you if it’s important in the meantime.

POW #5 Keep Your Emails Short and Sweet

CEOs don’t have time for reading novel-length emails—or writing them, either. Challenge yourself to think critically and efficiently when connecting via email or any other form of communication.

By keeping emails short and to the point, you’ll not only save a lot of writing time, you’ll also save your co-workers a lot of reading time. If your issue is too complex for a short email, scheduling a brief (5-10 minute) phone call can be much more efficient than a lengthy back-and-forth email exchange.

POW #6. Delegation is Your Friend

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by feeling that you have to do everything yourself. Delegating, however, is one of the best ways to manage your time. Passing projects off to other members of the team lightens your load and lets you focus on the projects that you do best. 

Delegating doesn’t mean trying to get out of doing your work—but if you have too much on your plate, delegating one of your tasks to another member of your team can help devote more attention to your more pressing projects. Don’t have a co-worker who can take on your task? You can try outsourcing your dreaded tasks to a freelancer on Fiverr.com.

Taking control of all the various tasks on your to-do list may sometimes seem impossible, but if you try making these small changes, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish during your workday!

Thank you for reading my blog. Your shares and likes keep me motivated.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

5 of the Scariest Bosses from TV & Movies and What We Can Learn from Them


 

Administrative Assistants sometimes get to work for the world’s best boss; other times, not so much. “Bad boss behavior” can range anywhere from temperamental and demanding to scary and downright inappropriate. One key to be a consummate Administrative Professional is knowing how to deal graciously with a wide range of personality types, as well as knowing how to respond if someone crosses a line. Often, popular culture can be a great teacher, so let’s look at 5 scary bosses from the movies and television to see what we might learn.

  1. Franklin Hart, Jr. (9 to 5)

This film plays like an early case study in workplace feminism. Ultra-sexist boss Franklin Hart, Jr. (played by Dabney Coleman) is so distasteful that when three female office workers kidnap him and restrain him in his own home, his absence from the office goes largely unnoticed for weeks. Meanwhile, the ladies take the opportunity to implement some positive changes like equal pay, flexible work hours, an onsite day care and more. When Hart eventually returns to the office just in time for a surprise visit from the company chairman, he receives undue credit for the changes made in his absence—just before his boss sends him to oversee the Brazil branch of the company and promotes office supervisor Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin) to Hart’s old position.

POW (Point of Wisdom): Sometimes others get the credit for an admin’s efforts—but in the long run good ideas get noticed.

  1. Avery Tolar (The Firm)

As the notorious-yet-respected top partner in a Mafia-owned law firm, Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman) is a frighteningly perfect blend of charm and menace. When up-and-coming attorney Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) discovers his boss’s corruption, Tolar shows there’s little he won’t do to make sure McDeere doesn’t talk—including hiring a woman to sleep with McDeere and using it to blackmail his employee.

POW: Charisma and status aren’t always the best litmus tests to know whether you have a good boss. Also, beware of unwarranted “gifts” and “favors” given, especially if your boss has something to hide.

  1. Bill Lumbergh (Office Space)

https://youtu.be/jsLUidiYm0w

We’ve all known this kind of boss in some capacity—the kind who loves to delegate to others without doing much of anything himself, and who manages to be like fingernails on chalkboard for no reason at all. In this film, Bill Lumbergh (played by Gary Cole) epitomizes the type of boss we typically love to hate.

POW:  As an Administrative Professional, you may work for a boss that either just gets under your skin or seems to delegate more work than is necessary. In such cases, you might do well to let it roll off for a while, especially if you’re in a firm with room for advancement. (“Annoying” isn’t typically a reportable offense.) 

  1. Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada)

Meryl Streep’s performance is nearly flawless as fashion magazine head honcho Miranda Priestly, seamlessly blending chic sophistication with deadpan rudeness and verbal abuse aimed primarily at her Assistant, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway). As the film progresses, Andy gets a glimpse behind the veil at the fractures in Priestly’s life that help make her who she is—and in the process of achieving a line of nearly impossible tasks (including one deliberately meant to break her), Andy discovers an empowerment in herself that she didn’t know she had.

POW: Sometimes working for a difficult boss pays off in unseen dividends like fresh confidence and honed skills. 

  1. Buddy Ackerman (Swimming with Sharks)

Kevin Spacey is so mean and nasty as boss man Buddy Ackerman that when tortured employee Rex (Frank Whaley) kidnaps Buddy and proceeds to torture him, we’re practically cheering him on. Indeed, the film sort of serves as a fantasy fulfillment of what many of us wish we could do to our mean bosses—but instead, we are relegated to voyeurism.

POW: You might feel like kidnapping and torturing a mean boss sometimes—but resist the urge. Most workplaces do have a chain of process for dealing with truly abusive bosses, and that’s a much smarter move for your career in the long run. 

 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Frightening Faux-Pas; What Not to Wear to the Office on Halloween


What not to wear to the office

Halloween is a fun opportunity to showcase your personality and creativity at work among your co-workers, and a fun way to bring everyone together. You’re either one of two people – the type who knows exactly what they want to wear, or the other who is left scratching their head nearly up to the last minute. Wherever you are in your costume planning stages, there are some things to consider when putting together your masterpiece. You certainly want to avoid looking unprofessional, so we’ve compiled some tips for dressing up at work below.

POW #1 – Ask Your Executive

Make sure to ask supervisors about what is expected of employees, especially if you are new to the office. Your workplace might either have strict rules or be completely relaxed – but you don’t want to be the last one to know.

Similarly, make sure to ask your co-workers what the culture of your company is like on Halloween. Fellow employees are probably the only ones who will warn you if people tend to opt out.

 

POW #2 Keep it Practical

If you can’t sit down, walk comfortably, or perform any of the basic functions needed to do your job, you should pick a new look. You’ll also want to stick with your company’s dress code and avoid unsafe clothing. For example, if you’re generally not allowed to wear open-toed shoes to work for safety reasons, follow that rule when choosing your costume. 

And it’s not just your personal safety that you should look out for. Avoid wearing costumes that include excess body paint, fake blood, or any other transferable coloring. You should have fun on Halloween, but not at the expense of staining office furniture.

 

POW #3 Check the Agenda

Once you know what’s acceptable to wear, take a look at your calendar. If you have a big meeting, have a customer coming in or have any other major work plans the day of Halloween, you’re better off skipping a costume. If you must be festive, try a fun accessory or bold makeup look instead.

 

POW #4 Bring a Change of Clothes

You might not have any appointments scheduled on Halloween, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t come up. Just in case, bring a change of clothes with you to work. After all, you don’t want to get an unexpected office visit while wearing a clown costume, or something equally absurd. To really err on the safe side, you could create a DIY costume using your regular work clothes.

 

 

POW #5 Be Sensitive to Others

Fake blood might highly disturb some employees. A joke that seems funny to you might come across as insensitive to a co-worker. Any costumes that include crude jokes, foul language, harsh political views, or are meant to imitate or mock fellow employees should be avoided as a result. Besides, they’re generally not acceptable in work settings to begin with.

Most importantly, you should remain sensitive to all cultures, even if you don’t think they’re represented in your office. Even if the costumes are soldat major retailers, that doesn’t mean they’re acceptable to wear. If you’re questioning whether or not your costume portrays a cultural stereotype, you’re better off not wearing it at all.

POW #6 No Fake Weapons

A wide range of costumes — from arrow-slinging superheroes to baseball bat-carrying characters of “The Walking Dead” — require weapon-like props. 

In today’s society, workplace violence is all too common and makes carrying realistic props into work a bad idea. People should be able to figure out what your costume is without a fake weapon. If they can’t, it’s worth picking a new costume entirely.

 

 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Leadership Styles That Work


In any given role, there is potential to become a leader; influence is not restricted to the Executives. As an Administrative Professional, you already have your hands in a multitude of projects, and you possess an ever-growing collection of knowledge and information. It is only natural to grow within this role, using your specific skill set and entrepreneurial spirit to lead those around you. 

Read moreLeadership Styles That Work

Brilliant C-Suite


5 Leadership Skills Leaving Them Wondering “Who’s the Boss”?

Admins juggle a lot of responsibilities and are constantly organizing the flow around the office – in particular to their Executive. Think about all the ways we plan for our Executives, from their daily agendas, to the outlines for their meetings, when they will speak to whom – even what office supplies to use. A mark of a phenomenal EA is how well they manage their executive – it should really leave everyone wondering, “who is the boss?”. 

Read moreBrilliant C-Suite

Brilliant Boss


5 Ways To Build A Strategic Partnership With Your Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistants are the unsung heroes of the business world – truly they are. They spend tireless amounts of time and effort deciphering the expectations and communications from their executives and creating solutions to keep everything running smoothly. Once an executive learns about the value that their admin already brings to the table, they can begin to strengthen their relationship strategically to create a powerhouse team of success!

We loved an article we found from Adam Hergenrother, founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies. In the article he recalls an, “Ah-ha!” moment in which he ended up needing to have a very real and honest conversation with his Chief of Staff about her need to grow in her career and whether it was possible to do so at their company. Adam deeply appreciated the honesty that she brought into the conversation, as well as the desire she expressed to stay in the company if at all possible. What Adam realized was that her ability to come to him early and honestly, instead of waiting until she was at her breaking point, spoke volumes about the type of relationship they had. 

Adam also realized that he wanted to grow their relationship into the type that would be able to provide her with the tools, resources and experience she needed to excel in her career. He outlined 5 Ways to Build a Strategic Partnership with Your Admin, which we will elaborate on below:

Give Up Control

An executive must allow their Executive Assistant (EA) to shine. It’s not always easy, especially when building your relationship with a new EA, but that’s exactly what the role is intended for – to take tasks off your plate. EAs shine brightest when they have the flexibility to get the job done their way – which is usually the right way. A talented EA will manage you to a point that will allow you to focus on your priorities in the company – a winning strategy!

Bring Them Into Your Inner Circle

Being able to see an EA as an extension of themselves is a great advantage for an executive. When an executive keeps their EA tentatively on the sidelines, it not only communicates mistrust, but it keeps the EA from being able to think like the executive and ultimately, make decisions as they would. The more an EA knows about their executive, how their mind works and what is going on in their world, the more effective their decisions will be. The more the executive trusts the EA’s decision-making, the more the executive can relax and focus on growing the business.

Meet/Communicate Regularly

Keeping an EA in the dark never did anyone an ounce of good. The first step is to choose a communication tool that works best for BOTH parties – Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. – and allow each other the freedom to ask any questions and share any pertinent business information. Set weekly meeting times to ensure that you are touching base on the big picture consistently. In person communication is great as well, but we all know how busy some weeks can get and it’s easy to let the time get away from you!

Set Clear Goals, Expectations and Wins

Aligning Expectations AdminUniverse

Adam said it best, “how do they know they are winning with you?”. Just as you would create quantifiable goals with other departments (sales, marketing, etc.), executives should be communicating clear expectations for what is expected of the EA and where they need to be. Clear goals help people to know when they are ready to take the next step forward, and when to evaluate and reevaluate. Creating a “reward system” to incentivize the EA is another wonderful component to ensure that the EA is feeling valued and encouraged to keep up the moment that drives your team toward success. 

Make Building Trust a Priority

The key component at the end-of-the-day, is trust. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it should certainly be a goal. Once trust is established in the relationship between the executive and the EA, they can both breathe a sigh of relief and move full speed ahead into their separate roles. Trust creates the foundation for a lasting and valuable business relationship between and EA and executive. 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Follow the Leader


Knowing Industry Leaders to Follow
Knowing Industry Leaders to Follow

One of the best ways to keep up with trends in business is to follow the “Who’s Who” in your industry. This is a great use of social media, from a business research perspective. Many of the “Influencers” on social media are also entrepreneurs and business owners – highly successful ones at that. It is worth taking a moment to search for the Influencers in your industry to take a look at the information provide. It is a commonly overlooked resource due to the fact that most Influencers are mainly on social media, but do not make the mistake of identifying how these SME (Subject Matter Experts) can be utilized to further your knowledge of the industry. 

The knowledge and insight that select Influencers have to provide is notable enough that top publications such as Forbes and Hubspot have even created content about them. We took a look at the best Influencers to follow and picked 5 of the best in business from a fantastic list that Grin had curated. 

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an American entrepreneur known for skyrocketing his family wine business within the first five years. He realized the power of online influence much earlier and transformed his family’s wine company into the first wine ecommerce platform.

The international celebrity is the chairman of New York based VaynerX, a media and communications holding company and VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency.Gary is also an investor in many ventures like Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and others. He also hosts a YouTube docu-series and a podcast.

Born in the former USSR, Gary is a very influential public speaker, a 5-time New York Times bestselling author and has been featured in many important publications.

  1. Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is an international media personality who founded the award-winning news platform, The Huffington Post. She stepped down from her post as a President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group in October 2016 to launch Thrive Global. Thrive Global is a startup company dedicated to health and wellness.

She has been recognized by various media outlets, appearing on The Guardian’s “Top 100 in Media List” and Forbes’ “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” This business influencer has written many articles and authored 15 books. The famous entrepreneur, mother, author, and speaker is known for maintaining success and balance in all of her business ventures.

  1. Melinda Emerson

Known as “SmallBizLady,”  small business expert, Melinda Emerson, is a well-known American entrepreneur. This small business influencer is also a professional speaker, social media strategist, and small business coach.

Motivated by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, Inc., Melinda left her television career to pursue her business dream and created an award-winning production company. As the CEO and founder of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda has worked for big names like Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Comcast, and others.

Melinda hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter, SmallBizChat that discusses everything about launching and running a profitable small business. The veteran entrepreneur has numerous awards and accolades to her credit. She has authored two books and written many social media articles.

  1. Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo is an American entrepreneur, writer, life coach, and motivational speaker. She is also the host of MarieTV, a web television series.This passionate woman is also the owner of Marie Forleo International, and B-School. The lifestyle expert teaches smart business marketing strategies and conducts dynamic training programs for business owners and individuals.

The young business influencer, through her free and paid programs, offers advice on succeeding in business and life. She is dedicated to helping people reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. She has also been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins. And she has counseled young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.

  1. Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest, a digital investment advisory platform for women aimed at encouraging women to invest. Known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, Krawcheck is known for turning around sinking businesses and growing them.

She has authored the best-selling book, “Own It: The Power of Women at Work,” and has written several columns for Reuters and The Huffington Post, among others. This business influencer has made numerous appearances on CNBC and is quite active on social media with almost 57k followers on Twitter.

 

[Influencer information provided by Grin ]

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

How to Become a Subject Matter Expert


Think about how you add value to your role. How is it that you go above and beyond your duties as an Administrative Professional to keep your executive informed? We all know the chaos that can ensue during certain parts of the year. Your executive has so much to juggle – the very reason our role exists in the first place – so being able to keep up on the trends and become a SME (Subject Matter Expert) is a phenomenal way to evolve into higher positions. 

The question you may be asking is; How do I become a Subject Matter Expert? How do I keep up with the trends? We did some digging around and one of our favorite publications, Business Insider, had some great insight about where to get started and how to incorporate this self-education into your routine. 

Read moreHow to Become a Subject Matter Expert

5 Badass Assistant Scenes from Movies and TV — and What We Can Learn from Them


In real life, being an executive assistant can sometimes be a thankless job. Assistants often work behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly and effortlessly, and their work often goes unnoticed—but of course, the office would be lost if they weren’t doing their jobs. And every so often, an assistant comes into the spotlight and actually gets to save the day. 

In this case, television and the movies are often our greatest teachers. Let’s explore five TV and movie scenes in which an assistant truly acted like a badass, to see what we can learn.

Read more5 Badass Assistant Scenes from Movies and TV — and What We Can Learn from Them