Part 2 in my ongoing series on Helping Your Executive Get Social - being strategic and proactive in managing your business leaders social media engagement.
Episode 34 of Being Indispensable is the first of two episodes that focus on the way engaging in social media can be a great way of demonstrating how proactive, strategic and indispensable they can be. In the first episode Liz explains the benefits that Executives can gain if they harness the power of social media. The idea for these two episodes came from a post on LinkedIn written by Liz.
People now spend more time using social media than they do watching television and social media engagement is a top priority for most organisations today. Getting your Executive to understand why they need to make social media engagement a priority is something that is top of mind for indispensable assistants.
In Episode 34 it’s all about the WHY. Episode 35 will discuss the HOW with advice and practical tips to help put in place systems and processes that will enable Executives to start moving towards regular and consistent social media engagement.
Articles mentioned in today’s episode:
2017 is a quarter complete and it's time to get an update on how Liz is tracking with her 'Words of 2017' as well as a Health & Wellness update. This part can be summarised as 'I'm Not Burying My Head In The Sand, I'm Just Running The Other Way'.
Liz shares the sneaky ways the urge to flee continues to make itself known & how she is channeling her inner Emu.
For a solo episode it's ended up being just over 30 minutes which only proves that Liz can truly talk about herself with no trouble at all!
Creating a strategic partnership with your C-Suite Executive is a topic of much discussion amongst Executive Assistants and educators in the profession. What is required to achieve this is something Liz discussed in a recent LinkedIn post. In this solo episode she shares the feedback she has received on the post and expands on the topic discussing how vital it is for the partnership to be a win/win situation for Executive Assistant and Executive.
PS If you know a friend who would enjoy the podcast I'd love it if you could tell them about it!
LinkedIn Post "The Executive Assistant As Strategic Partner" can be found here
HBR Article "What Executive Assistants Know About Managing Up", Melba Duncan discusses the Strategic Partnership can be found here
Mana defined can be found here
LinkedIn Post "The Game Has Changed. Have YOU" by Phoenix Normand can be found here
Coming to you from a park bench in downtown Palo Alto, California. More a garden ramble than a road ramble, Liz explains the purpose of her trip to the USA and how it's been a trip she's been looking forward to making ever since finishing Breast Cancer treatment. Enjoy a giggle as she recounts how in the pursuit of an interview with an indispensable assistant she goes from outwardly cool, calm and collected to a hot and sweaty mess.
Make sure to Subscribe to Being Indispensable so you don't miss out on future episodes!
In Part 2 of my interview with Sue McComasky we discuss her role as National President of the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (AIOP) and why she is so passionate about what the mission of the organisation. AIOP is an organisation run by volunteers and it seeks to provide:
AIOP is the only national professional body for office professionals in Australia and has been in existence officially since 1963 but it's roots were formed in the 1950's when 12 secretaries sat for and passed what was then known as the Commonwealth Secretarial Examination. As the only organisation for Executive Assistants that is run by members, for members it has the best interests of members at it's heart and is ably led by Sue and her committee.
You can find more info on AIOP and membership information on their website
Sue McComasky is an indispensable Executive Assistant who is passionate about her role and the Business Leaders she supports. The intention of Being Indispensable has always involved providing a platform for Executive Assistants to be given the recognition for the amazing contribution they make to their respective organisations.
In Part 1 (Episode #29) of our interview, Sue talks about her role and her relationships with the CEO’s she has supported. Sue speaks with such humility but she is clearly highly valued as an Executive Assistant and she is a great ambassador for her organisation, GHD Australia.
In Part 2 (Episode #30) of our interview we discuss Sue’s role as National President of the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (AIOP) which is over 50 years old and is the only membership group in Australia which exists simply to support and educate office professionals. AIOP is a not-for-profit association that channels all money raised back into providing networking and education opportunities for members. AIOP recently underwent a complete rebrand and as a volunteer-run organisation it was a delight to be able to give Sue the opportunity to discuss the vision, mission and goals of AIOP and why it is a membership that Executive Assistants will benefit from.
Sue can be reached via AIOP and her LinkedIn profile is here
This week's solo episode is all about passion. Indispensable Executive Assistants demonstrate passion. They are passionate about their role, about their organisation and about the executive they support. It sets them apart from mediocre EA’s and it’s something that may require a mindset shift.
One of the ways that you can demonstrate passion is being able to passionately articulate your business leaders’ raison d’etre, their reason for being. This is effectively an ‘elevator pitch’, something that entrepreneurs and salespeople are well known for having. It’s a way of demonstrating that you are operating in that managerial mindset that Adam Fidler talks about.
One way of doing this is to use a modified version of Daniel Priestley's SOCIAL PITCH:
“Name, Same, Claim to fame, Goal to Game”
NAME - You and your position, name and your company name
SAME - What are you the same as, industry category (what would I google if I was trying to find you)
CLAIM TO FAME - something that makes your boss interesting to work for. It’s talking to why they are an interesting person to work for and demonstrating that
GOAL TO GAME - What's the short to goal that your boss is currently pursuing, what the big picture objective that they are working towards.
Can you put words around the GOAL TO GAME section? If not, you need to take steps to actually understand what you executive’s reason for being is. Another opportunity to initiate a conversation with them, to show them that you are a red box thinker and that you are thinking in that managerial mindset.
Should be able to get this out in around 30 seconds.
Will need to practice it, fine tune it.
In Part 2 of my interview Liz shares some initial results from her Survey of C-Suite Executives where she has been investigating how elements of Adam's EA Manifesto resonate with executives and their experience working with EA's. The results to do date reinforce that assistant's currently are not generally viewed as behaving strategically and operating with the 'managerial mindset' that Adam encourages. However, the results of the survey clearly show that executives want their EA's to demonstrate leadership traits.
Adam also shares a simple mindset hack to remind EA's to think as a manager and he also discusses how it is up to EA's to help their boss see them in a different light, as more 'Red Box' than 'Black box'.
Links to Connect with Adam and read about his thinking around the EA role:
Connect with Adam Fidler on LinkedIn
Adam Fidler Academy website
Adam Fidler’s “What I am” EA manifesto
A clip of Sophie Ellis-Bextor “Murder On The Dancefloor” is also included in this episode because it's fun and as discussed Liz loves Adam's dance floor metaphor for encouraging EA's to get out of the weeds!
The overarching theme of Adam’s work is about encouraging and enabling EA’s to align their behaviours with what is expected of a mid level manager and the sorts of EQ skills that are focused on in leadership development. He has a higher vision for the role which he articulates in his EA manifesto but rather than this vision being some sort of airy fairy, non-specific ideal he advocates for it being based on a proven foundation of skills development.
Connect with Adam Fidler on LinkedIn
Adam Fidler Academy website
Adam Fidler’s “What I am” EA manifesto
Liz has developed a 5 step process to identifying the skills, values and behaviours that will make you an indispensable Assistant to your business leader.
Step 1 is to conduct a personal skills audit. In this episode, the first in a five part series to be released over coming weeks, Liz outlines two different approaches to conduct a personal skills audit. Liz also discusses how the results of this exercise will form the basis for Step 3 which is to identify what indispensable looks like to your business leader and how Adam Fidler’s Executive Assistant ‘manifesto’ which he formulated through his coaching and training work with EA’s may serve as a useful conversation starter.
Resources discussed in this episode
'5 Steps To Being Indispensable' Factsheet - download on the website www.beingindispensable.com
Tools like MBTI, Strengthfinder and the DISC profile are also valuable to helping you ‘flesh’ out the total picture of what you bring to your role. Learn more about these tools via the links:
A solo episode sharing an aha moment that Liz has experienced in the process of developing a new intro for the podcast. It’s a short 15 minute episode this week ruminating on the confidence that comes from realising that in order to be an advocate and influencer in the Executive Assistant space she doesn't need to have been the ‘best’ Executive Assistant that has ever done the role. That it's legitimate and perfectly okay to be passionate about giving a voice to those who are the ‘best’ and that by doing so her role as an influencer of the values and behaviours that make an EA indispensable is valid and useful.
Podcast mentioned (Glen Carlson interviewed on Business Addicts) can be found here
Sonia Petersen has over 15 year's experience as an Executive Assistant working with successful leaders within the construction industry. She is passionate about operations and driving efficiency and really enjoys the collaborative nature of the Executive Assistant role. Amongst her fellow EA’s she is known for her dedication to support and inspire others which she has done by informally mentoring and coaching other Executive Assistants. This is such a passion for her that she has recently began a side hustle business offering individual and group coaching around Wellbeing at Work. Sonia truly believes that if we focus on our wellbeing we will see improvements not just in our health but also in our ability to build relationships as well as increased productivity and even greater success.
For those of us that are working on being indispensable these outcomes are what we’re looking for. As I have shared with you, when your wellbeing and wellness is challenged everything else is affected and your ability to show up as indispensable is compromised...and we don’t want that!
As Sonia describes on her website
“My goal is to create a movement for Executive Assistants and Corporate Women to be respected and recognised, to be united and empowered in what we do as a profession”
Key Takeaways from our discussion:
Dowload a free copy of Sonia's eBook 'Unstick The Stuck' A Woman's Guide to Finding Career Clarity, Creating a Life You Love and Taking Care of Your Well-being' at soniapetersen.com.au
As Founder and Managing Director of leading boutique office support recruitment company EST10, Roxanne Calder brings a fresh approach to the table. Roxanne established EST10 in 2010 and from the launch of the company has sought to differentiate EST10 from other recruiters through the way they engage with employers and candidates with integrity and demonstrating through their actions passion and a commitment to finding the very best talent. In fact over 80% of EST10s business comes from referrals and repeat business.
I was keen to interview Roxanne because I admire the way EST10 puts their money where their mouth is in the way they support the EA profession through their marketing activities including an annual EA of the year award and their sponsorship of development opportunities for EAs such as the EA Leadership Forum. In addition, EST10 sponsors opportunities for EAs to network and share their experiences at round table events and other organised events.
The key takeaways from my discussion with Roxanne include:
I love the fact that Roxanne herself is a successful female entrepreneur and we need to hear more of these stories. EST10 is over six years old and Roxanne herself has had an amazing career, starting out with a Bachelor of Arts, honing her skills in the recruitment industry and creating value now not just through her companies recruitment activities but as a business owner, employing women and developing women in business. She is a very capable and talented businesswomen and I was delighted that she agreed to be interviewed.
Task Management is a fundamental job role of Executive Assistants. Developing and maintaining a well managed 'to-do' list where it is easy to identify the priority of tasks and the stakeholders involved in their execution is something an indispensable assistant needs to resolve.
In this solo episode Liz discusses the importance of task management, how a notebook and pen will continue to remain an EA's go-to tools and how tools such as Trello (based on the Japanese Kanban board approach) can be a great way to automate your task management to drive accountability, communication and collaboration with stakeholders and team members.
The recent announcement that Atlassian is acquiring Trello is discussed as are a number of alternative tools such as Wunderlist, Asana and Todoist.
Road Ramblings makes a comeback this week just in time for Christmas. Liz recounts how technical 'isssssews' have prevented her from doing her interview with Roxanne Calder from est10 which will be rescheduled for the new year. How this week has been all about being a taxi driver for an injured teenage daughter and also dealing with the technical troubleshooting meltdowns that are the curse of someone who is far too hard on herself! As always, adopting a learner mindset, this just provides the opportunity to become a more proficient podcaster and appreciate the wonderful support she receives from her family as she ventures down the podcast road.
A solo episode revisiting a metaphor that came up in Episode 17 with Kate Toon where Kate described herself as the sort of EA/PA who looked behind the margarine. What does this actually translate to and why is it important. Liz also gives a snapshot of the 2017 EAN Congress and notes how the theme of building a partnership with your executive is in sync with what Being Indispensable is all about (kudos to her!!!!). She also shares an article that may be informative for those executives who still need to get their head around the ways in which they can better leverage their assistant.
Pop over to the website for the show notes
Oh and no pressure but if you haven't subscribed and even better left a review the lead up to Christmas is a great time to do it:) Liz loves presents!!!
As Executive/Personal Assistants we are often in the unique position of being aware of 'problems' within our organisation. The mantra "don't bring me problems, bring me solutions" can be counter productive and discourage assistants from engaging in conversations that could be helpful with their business leader.
In this solo episode Liz discusses an article published in Fast Company and compares it with insight from Harvard Business Review that suggests that the 'don't bring me problems' mentality can be unhelpful and discourage conscientious employees to proactively communicate potential problems.
Bring problems to your business leaders attention doesn't automatically make you a whiner and Liz outlines one approach that can help you structure such a conversation.
Kate Toon is extraordinary. She is a copywriter, SEO lover, speaker, podcaster, TV presenter and trainer as well as being a mother, a wife and a small business owner.
In this interview Kate shares how she transitioned from a Personal Assistant to an award winning producer of advertising content in the print, television and online space.
This episode is essential listening for assistants that recognise that great writing is a central component of BEING INDISPENSABLE. If you want to be connected with someone that can help you improve your copywriting and SEO skills then Kate Toon is someone you should know.
Adopting different voices and adapting to the tone required for the audience of the content are critical skills. Hear about Kate's journey from the UK to Australia and what she offers now to assist people who want and need to deliver quality writing for business purposes. We discuss her business Hot Copy Podcast where she shares the secrets of successful copywriters in the show jointly hosted with Belinda Weaver. We also discuss her online course offerings through the Clever Copywriting School and the e-course she offers at The Secrets For SEO Success (which also has a podcast). Kate is a prolific producer of content and much of it is FREE via her blog posts and podcast episodes. Connect with Kate at https://www.facebook.com/kateToon and https://www.facebook.com/copywritingschool/ or https://www.facebook.com/groups/recipeforseosuccess/ or https://www.facebook.com/hotcopypodcast
Visit the ShowNotes for more information on how to work with Kate.
Rumination and reflections on the complex situation HRC's Executive Assistant must have been in trying to juggle the demands of HRC as well as other stakeholders in terms of her access to emails. This got Liz thinking about some of the things she has learnt managing her bosses inbox. How systems, processes and rules are your friend when it comes to inbox management and how business leaders aren't serving anyone by refusing to allow their EA or PA access to their email.
Liz shares how the podcast title Being Indispensable was chosen in complete ignorance of the fact that Seth Godin had explored the concept in his book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable” (which Liz is definitely going to be reading). Even if you subscribe to the view that being indispensable is unattainable, Liz argues that the qualities and behaviors that make someone irreplaceable still hold value and are of value to employers and customers. In the same way, it's become a great way of expressing her value proposition. Liz also explains the reason why there has been a notable absence of new episodes. Liz outlines the tough decisions that have been made in recent weeks and how difficult it has been to disappoint her business leader.
This week is all about making space to care for herself. As part of this Liz is doing some self-reflection and beginning the process of putting into place the technique of mindfulness that has been proven to develop the "mind muscle" used to create a calmer mind and a healthier body. In addition, Liz took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test to get some insight into her personality type as explained by this tool.
Two weeks into the job-share Liz reflects on her learnings so far....systems and processes, or the lack there-of can become glaringly obvious when you undertake a job-share. Liz also notes how important it is for the person who is embarking on the job-share arrangement (the fresh eyes so to speak) to come to the table with an open mind and willing to leave their judgement at the door! Well, in her case that's helpful because she's feeling a bit exposed in terms of explaining all the intricacies of her role, the clients, the stakeholders and the details she takes for granted.
Please remember to leave a review if you feel so inclined...all the helpful feedback is appreciated:)
Liz comes clean about how she hasn't allowed herself permission to not be okay post treatment for Breast Cancer. In pretending that life has gone on and it was no big deal she has not given her body and mind what it actually needs to heal. In this episode Liz opens up about how up until now she has been projecting the image of someone who has their shit together when in actual fact she's been slowly falling apart. Thankfully she also shares how she's taken control of the situation and is embarking on a jobshare and break from her role as an EA in order to start putting in place some better habits that will support her recovery from Breast Cancer and the chronic issues that treatment leaves you with.
A Minibee (Mini Being Indispensable) episode where Liz ruminates on what she's learned from reading about the four tendencies that Gretchen Rubin outlines in her bestselling book "Better Than Before": Upholders, Obligers, Rebels and Questioners.
By doing the online quiz Liz has established that she's a classic Obliger. What does this mean for her in terms of her relationship with her business leader and what can you learn by understanding your own tendency and that of your business leader. Come along for the ride and learn all about this fascinating topic.