Author Archives: Kama

A Big Thank You to Your Administrative Assistant

The following is a guest post from Kevin Wilson, co-author of The Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook.

Administrative Professional’s Day is the time to thank your hard-working assistant for putting up with those endless requests from you and your colleagues. This year, rather than a gift card to Starbucks or a spa gift certificate you would like to keep for yourself, how about giving the gift of development. (Or perhaps in addition to a gift card or spa gift certificate!)

Gone are the days when an administrative assistant might work 30 years for the same company, many of those years for the same boss. Corporate restructurings, which have affected hundreds of thousands of people over the past few years, have been a mixed blessing for administrative assistants. In the wake of restructuring, some assistants have to leave their position when their boss leaves, but others are asked to take on greater responsibility, to “take up the slack” as middle managers are phased out. Either situation could be professionally devastating if an administrative assistant is not prepared.

While it is important to offer training on the skills needed for the current job, such as computer skills, it could be strategically helpful to acquire other essential business skills whether or not they are needed right now.  Look for training opportunities in areas such as business writing, research, customer service, purchasing, budgeting, bookkeeping, invoicing, training new employees, presentation skills, and supervising an office staff.  The American Management Association offers a wide variety of seminars on these and other topics.

Having these skills will give your administrative assistant the most flexible preparation to meet any challenge he or she may face—either an on-the-job crisis or a career advancement opportunity.

Another development idea that is more closely related with your assistant’s current job would be to support his or her effort to become certified by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (formerly the National Secretaries Association) as a Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP). This certification is granted only upon the successful completion of examinations in various aspects of secretarial/administrative procedures and skills. Being certified can be a tremendous boost to your assistant’s career.

Giving the gift of development shows you care personally about your administrative assistant’s future and well-being. If you have a limited budget, offer to pay for an adult education course of your assistant’s choice at the local college. There are also many useful online courses that can help your assistant acquire new skills.  And above all, talk with your assistant about what they see themselves doing in the future, and then work together on a development plan that helps them achieve these goals.

Kevin Wilson is the co-author of The Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook and is Vice President of Videologies, Inc., a company that specializes in training administrative professionals in Fortune 500 companies.

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New Book Trailer for Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Leaders know vision is important, but figuring out how to increase one’s visionary capacity is daunting. Fortunately, the book trailer for  Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead (publishing in January) by Rob-Jan de Jong, a faculty member with Wharton’s flagship executive program “Global Strategic Leadership,” provides leaders with useful advice for developing a vision.

Podcast: Jackie Barretta on Primal Teams

Photo of Jackie Barretta, author of Primal TeamsFind out why team members emotions are so important to business success today in an  AMA Edgewise podcast with Jackie Barretta, author of Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance.

Jackie Barretta, author of Primal Teams, published by AMACOM, wants you to know that emotions do belong at work. You want people who are positively emotional about a project they’re working on and be happy and motivated to do the work necessary. People think most creatively when they’re in an optimal emotional state. However, emotions like fear and anger are primal emotions that take hold much faster than logic and reason. Instead of sweeping these emotions under the rug, acknowledge them head-on, confront the problem, and create a culture that encourages people to speak up.

Jacket image, Primal Teams by Jackie BarrettaListen to Jackie Barretta on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Jackie Barretta is Founding Partner of Nura Group, a consulting firm dedicated to enhancing team innovation and performance. Her work with primal emotions in teams has won her widespread recognition and dozens of prestigious awards.

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Podcast: Deb Bright on Learning to Love Criticism

Photo of Deb Bright, author of The Truth Doesn't Have to HurtFew people enjoy giving or receiving criticism, but in an AMA Edgewise podcast, The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change author Deb Bright discusses how criticism is beneficial in the workplace, how to provide effective criticism, and how workers can be receptive to it.

In The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change author Deb Bright talks about ‘criticism’s’ bad reputation and the stigma that is attached to it in the workplace. She argues that criticism is actually more beneficial than not and that its sole purpose is to help someone do something better, achieve goals, and grow personally and professionally. The purpose of the book, Bright says, is to give givers and receivers of criticism the skills they need in order to communicate with one another, and have productive conversations that build trust and respect. Deb gives listeners techniques such as “quick charges” in order to better help them receive criticism and utilize it in the best way possible.

Jacket image, The Truth Doesn't Have to Hurt by Deb BrightListen to Deb Bright on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Deb Bright, Ph.D. is founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm devoted to enhancing performance. Her impressive roster of clients includes Raytheon, Marriott, Disney, GE, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other premier organizations.

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Home for Dinner Goodreads Giveaway

Jacket image, Home for Dinner by Anne K. FisherHead on over to GoodReads  for a chance to win an advance copy of Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids by Anne K. Fishel and Michael Thompson.  Twenty bound galleys are available, and the giveaway is open until December 8th, 2014.

Kids need more than food. They’re starving for family dinners.

Sports, activities, long hours, and commutes—with so much to do, dinner has been bumped to the back burner.

But research shows that family dinners offer more than just nutrition. Studies have tied shared meals to increased resiliency and self-esteem in children, higher academic achievement, a healthier relationship to food, and even reduced risk of substance abuse and eating disorders.

Written by a Harvard Medical School professor and mother, Home for Dinner makes a passionate and informed plea to put mealtime back at the center of family life and supplies compelling evidence and realistic tips for getting even the busiest of families back to the table. Chock full of stories, new research, recipes, and friendly advice, the book explains how to:

  • Whip up quick, healthy, and tasty dinners
  • Get kids to lend a hand (without any grief)
  • Adapt meals to the needs of everyone—from toddlers to teens
  • Inspire picky eaters to explore new foods
  • Keep dinnertime conversation stimulating
  • Add an element of fun
  • Reduce tension at the table
  • Explore other cultures and spark curiosity about the world

Mealtime is a place to unwind and reconnect, far from the pressures of school and work. As the author notes, family therapy can be helpful, but regular dinner is transformative.

Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., is the director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate clinical professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School. As cofounder of The Family Dinner Project, she has been interviewed by NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Good Housekeeping, Parents magazine, and other major media. She writes the Digital Family blog for Psychology Today.