Becoming a master pa notes jan 2013 + extra


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A left field look at the qualities needed to become a Master PA/EA. Given at The Courthouse Hotel London Jan 2013 on behalf of Angela Mortimer Plc

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Becoming a master pa notes jan 2013 + extra

  1. 1. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Something of a challenge to be truly comprehensive in an hour when the Institute of Administrative Management level 4 is 6 days of training and costs £2795 + VAT = £3,354! A brief look at my background. 80% of my working life in organisational and personal turnarounds. Built and run companies. Built and run voluntary organisations and always required really able support. I have been coaching, and providing creative facilitation for individuals and organisations since 1989. This is a link which will lead you to my article on minute taking and meetings in this months issue of Executive Secretary Magazine.
  2. 2. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Exercise 1: How do you remember best? What are the basis of what you will remember today? Try a 1 minute reflection. Work with your strengths.Your brain has an amazing memory. Use every possible memory prompter you have at your disposal:images, sounds, textures, tastes, and objects that spark the senses. People who practise memory acts use tools such as association as a powerful method for memorising things. Self-confidence is vital yet time after time I work with people who have an inner critic that seems determined to undermine personal success. I hope we can see over the next few pages that you have every right to feel self- confident. A PA’s role is to assist their Director in the achievement of these, so being able to prioritise them and work towards them is essential. Nobody says to a top exec, ‘great airline arrangements,’ yet it is a vital part of the function. A top exec probably knows just how much income they brought to their organisation and so the organisation’s ROI is easily calculated. Question: Do you keep a log of time management and cost savings? At one stage of his career David Bowie relied on a staff of 45 people in his Mainman management
  3. 3. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 company and the result was chaos. These days Bowie relies on Business Manager Bill Zysblat and ‘Coco’ Schwab his P.A. for over 40 years. Schwab has quite a fearsome reputation within the music industry but no-one doubts her dedication and Bowie trusts her implicitly. ‘I help put men on the moon. If toilets are not clean people are unhappy and that affects everybody,’ says a toilet cleaner at NASA. ‘Any job can become a calling, and any calling can become a job. ‘a physician who views the work as a job and is simply interested in making a good income does not have a calling, while a garbage collector who sees the work as making the world a cleaner, healthier place could have a calling.’ Amy Wrzesniewski (pronounced res- NES-kee) a professor of business at New York University and her colleagues made this important discovery. They studied twenty eight hospital cleaners, each having the same job description. The cleaners who see their job as a calling, craft their work to make it meaningful. They see themselves as critical in healing patients,” Authentic Happiness Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D. Do you see your work as a calling?
  4. 4. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Striving for perfection is an interesting pursuit, and one doomed to failure, for perfection is beyond the wit of human beings. There is not one person in history however ‘great’ who cannot be seen as also having many flaws. A classic example of a new boss trying to correct a situation and getting it wrong! As we said, bosses are not perfect. We all need positive strokes ( a Transactional Analysis expression. We will come to T.A. later) and clear communication, be assertive and communicate your needs. Remember that when we see the other person’s vulnerabilities we have opportunities to articulate our ability to solve problems. “Don’t worry, I know
  5. 5. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 how to fix that.” “Yes, that is a challenge but I’ll ensure it’s done.” “I understand what you want me to do, but what would we be the most helpful thing of all.” Structures comprise our strengths and skills and our adapted behaviours. Resources you can draw upon, we think of the exteriors mentors, coaches, colleagues, friends, networks etc. but what are our inner resources? Our inner resources complement our strengths. Integrity come from values and values come from what innate feelings we have, what we are taught and what we reflect upon, for some habits are simply things we are afraid to change. Then we can look to inspirations and insights that motivate. Who inspires, what inspires us? Are you inspired by books, films, paintings, landscapes, philosophy, religion - and why? Remember how hard everybody found it to think of 10 strengths? Here are some examples. Creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, open- mindedness, love of learning, perspective, wisdom, bravery, perseverance, persistence, diligence, industriousness, honesty, authenticity, zest, enthusiasm, love, kindness, generosity, social intelligence, social skills, team-worker, fairness, leadership, forgiveness, mercy, modesty, humility, prudence, discretion, caution, self-control, appreciation of beauty, gratitude, thankfulness, hope, optimism,
  6. 6. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 playfulness, humour, religiousness, spirituality. How many strengths feel familiar to you now? We build on our strengths. That which we give attention to, the mind builds upon. Let’s not forget about all of those skills that you are and have been developing. It’s fine to take an educated guess at just strong these skills are.
  7. 7. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013
  8. 8. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 WHAT A LIST. And you and I both know we could add to that list without too much problem! Apologies for misspelling discreet.
  9. 9. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Do your work styles complement or cause tension.Your boss needs to know that they can trust you to get it right or sort it if it all goes pear shaped Welcome the challenge of responding to unexpected changes Checking in at the beginning of the work day prevents time wasted on non-priorities Stay tuned with each other throughout the day List everything you want to discuss with your boss– even if you run out of time, you will have a list of things that you need to talk about that will help to keep you focused.
  10. 10. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Think about all those detective films and series, somewhere there is always a large visual of the who, what, when, how possibilities because it helps to stand back and look at some problems that aren’t instantly solvable and require some creative thinking. Remember the 5 “Whys”. The first answer people give is often not correct or may even be based on shaky information. Probing can often reveal the root answer and it can be a real surprise. C and S (consequences and sequels) are useful techniques for exploring the various ways that one thing can lead to another. It’s a simple Edward deBono thinking skill ( I run workshops on these kind of tools and skills - sorry, another plug!).
  11. 11. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Transactional Analysis (T.A.) Eric Berne’s model explore the parent from overly nurturing to overly controlling (CP). The nurturing parents (NP) can smother and give a child no freedom. When the child is coming of age the parent keeps the ‘child’ in a tender but still smothering embrace, preventing the child moving into adulthood. The controlling parent says in effect, ‘my way or the highway.’ Both may be well intentioned and both stem from fear. Typical positions: I’m OK, you’re OK I’m OK but you’re not OK I’m not OK but you’re OK I’m not OK and you’re not OK A is adult to adult transactions or discussions, where the balance is perfectly maintained. Parent Ego State. Behaviours, thoughts and feelings copied from parents and parental figures Adult Ego State Behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are direct and considered responses to the here and now. We aim for the the Integrating Adult. Integrating means that we are constantly exploring our every day experiences and using them to inform us for the future. Child Ego State Behaviours, thoughts and feelings replayed from childhood. For example if your boss suddenly calls you into their office, you might get a churning in our stomach and wonder what you have done wrong, all because it reminds you of when time the head teacher called you in to tell us off. Of course, not everything in the Child Ego
  12. 12. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 state is negative. We might go into someones house and smell a lovely smell and remember our grandmothers house when we were little, and all the same warm feelings we had at six years of age may come flooding back. Modes Negative controlling Parent behaviour communicates a "Youre not OK" message, and it punishes. Negative nurturing parent behaviour also communicates a "Youre not OK" message because in this mode the ‘Parental’ figure will do things for others which they are capable of doing for themselves. When in this mode the person is engulfing and overprotective. Negative adapted child behaviour expresses an "Im not OK" message. When in this mode the person over-adapts to others and tends to experience such emotions as depression, unrealistic fear and anxiety. Free child (FC)is where the person runs wild with no restrictions or boundaries. This behaviour expresses a, "I’m O.K. but youre not OK" message, because they treat the other person without respect. A positive Nurturing Parent communicates the message "Youre OK", because they are able to be caring and affirming. They are also able to understand the need for positive controlling parent behaviours that also communicate "youre OK", whilst setting clear boundaries; offering constructive criticism, whilst being caring but firm. The focus is on actions taken and their consequences rather than on telling the child that they are a bad person. This is vital for a child since they are only developing adult thinking skills and their brains will not fully form until they are around the age of 21. A positive adapted child says effectively that "Im OK". From this mode we learn the rules to help us live with others. A positive free child - communicates an "Im OK" message. This is the creative, fun loving, curious and energetic mode. The accounting mode - communicates "Were OK" messages. The Adult is able to assess reality in the here and now. When the Accounting mode is in the executive position it is possible to choose which of the other effective modes to go into, dependent on the situation. This is then called Accounting Mode. When using the descriptive behavioural model the term Accounting Mode helps to differentiate it from the structural model where it is referred to as Adult. When stable in this Accounting Mode we are taking account of the present context and situation and deciding the most appropriate mode to come from. We are then able to respond appropriately rather than flipping into archaic or historic ways of being, thinking and behaving which are likely to be inappropriate and unhelpful. Strokes In Transactional Analysis we call compliments and general ways of giving recognition strokes. This name came from research which indicated that babies require touching in order to survive and grow. It apparently makes no difference whether the touching induces pain or pleasure - it is still important. On the whole we prefer to receive negative strokes than no strokes at all, at least that way we know we exist and others know we exist. We all have particular strokes we will accept and those we will reject. For example, if we have always been told we are clever, and our brother is creative, then we are likely to accept strokes for being clever, but not for being creative. From this frame of reference only one person in the family can be the creative one and so on. Stroking can be physical, verbal or non-verbal. It is likely that the great variety of stroke needs and styles present in the world results from differences in wealth, cultural mores, and methods of parenting. Claude Steiner suggests that, as children, we are all indoctrinated by our parents with five restrictive rules about stroking. • dont give strokes when we have them to give • dont ask for strokes when we need them • dont accept strokes if we want them • dont reject strokes when we dont want them • dont give ourselves strokes
  13. 13. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013Together these five rules are the basis of what Steiner calls the stroke economy. By training children to obey theserules, says Steiner, parents ensure that ".. a situation in which strokes could be available in a limitless supply istransformed into a situation in which the supply is low and the price parents can extract for them is high."We therefore need to change the restrictive rules to unrestrictive ones: • give strokes when we have them to give • ask for strokes when we want them • accept strokes if we want them • reject manipulative strokes • give ourselves positive strokesStrokes can be positive or negative: • A) "I like you" • B) "I dont like you"Strokes can be unconditional or conditional. An unconditional stroke is a stroke for being whereas a conditional strokeis a stroke for doing. For instance:"I like you" - unconditional"I like you when you smile" - conditionalAs negative strokes these might be:"I dont like you" - negative unconditional"I dont like you when youre sarcastic" - negative conditionalPeople often have a stroke filter. They only let in strokes which they think they are allowed to let in. For instance theyallow themselves to receive strokes for being clever and keep out strokes for being good looking. One way to thinkabout this to consider being out in the rain. The rain is the strokes that are available to us, both positive and negative.There is a hole in the umbrella and some of the strokes go through and we save them in a bucket to enjoy in lean Fire as in house on fire, Fire, from a gun, Fire, as in fire in the belly, enthusiasm. Fire, as in I’m going to fire you. An archeologist claims he has dug up a coin with 46 BC on it. Why was he a liar? BC means before christ. Who could have known that in advance? Context
  14. 14. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 The four benefits to acknowledging are: You do not enter into a debate. You remain emotionally detached, especially if they have used parental language or sarcasm. If the manipulative person has exaggerated or generalised, you help shift the conversation to a rational level. You reassure them that you have heard them. The second technique is to probe, which has the following benefits: You stay emotionally detached. You gain thinking time. By asking specific questions, you help them behave rationally. The third technique is the broken record. The benefits of this technique are that it helps you: •stay emotionally detached •stand your ground •resist attempted manipulation •make the manipulative person realise you will not be intimidated
  15. 15. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 The “Thomas-Killman Instrument (TKI) Approach” Because no two individuals have exactly the same expectations and desires, conflict is a natural part of our interaction with others. These two basic dimensions of behaviour define five different modes for responding to conflict situations: 1. Competing is assertive and uncooperative—an individual pursues his own concerns at the other persons expense. This is a power-oriented mode in which you use whatever power seems appropriate to win your own position—your ability to argue, your rank, or economic sanctions. Competing means "standing up for your rights," defending a position which you believe is correct, or simply trying to win. 2. Accommodating is unassertive and co-operative—the complete opposite of competing. When accommodating, the individual neglects his own concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person; there is an element of self-sacrifice in this mode. Accommodating might take the form of selfless generosity or charity, obeying another persons order when you would prefer not to, or yielding to anothers point of view. 3. Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative—the person neither pursues his own concerns nor those of the other individual. Thus he does not deal with the conflict. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically side-stepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation. 4. Collaborating is both assertive and co-operative—the complete opposite of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with others to find some solution that fully satisfies their concerns. It means digging into an issue to pinpoint the underlying needs and wants of the two individuals. Collaborating between two persons might take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each others insights or trying to find a creative solution to an interpersonal problem.
  16. 16. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 5. Compromising is moderate in both assertiveness and cooperativeness. The objective is to find some expedient, mutually acceptable solution that partially satisfies both parties. It falls in between competing and accommodating. Compromising gives up more than competing but less than accommodating. Likewise, it addresses an issue more directly than avoiding, but does not explore it in as much depth as collaborating. In some situations, compromising might mean splitting the difference between the two positions, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick middle-ground solution. Each of us is capable of using all five conflict-handling modes. None of us can be characterised as having a single style of dealing with conflict. But certain people use some modes better than others and, therefore, tend to rely on those modes more heavily than others—whether because of temperament or practice. Your conflict behaviour in the workplace is therefore a result of both your personal predispositions and the requirements of the situation in which you find yourself. The TKI is designed to measure this mix of conflict-handling modes. This is a classic opening to a Time Management course. Inherently a statement of true facts, such courses tend to suggest very mechanistic ways of managing time better. Time management books tend to be written by people who love writing lists and bought by people who loathe writing lists. A great deal of evidence suggests that people tend to revert to their ‘traditional’ ways of organising life within only a few weeks of attending a time management course. Applied Psychology 70 (P381-391), Time-Management training: effects on time behaviours, attitudes and job performance, Journal of Psychology 130 (p 229-237). Key Symptoms of SAD Depression Sleep Problems Lethargy Over Eating Loss of Concentration Social Problems Anxiety Loss of Libido Mood Changes
  17. 17. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013Railway TimeFor thousands of years man was governed by seasons, and cycles of the moon. The sun movingthrough the sky was enough to indicate sunrise, sunset and mid-day. People who were governed bysome sort of order e.g. prayers needed to order their daily time more accurately, and often used acombination of measuring devices, such as sand timers, burning candles, or, if the sun was shining asundial.The Earth rotates once every 24 hours, and so places to the East start their day sooner, than placesto the West. Across Britain there is a difference in time of approximately half an hour. Even late intothe 18th century watches and clocks were decorative somewhat inaccurate items for the rich, andtheir inaccuracy made the difference between clock and sundial less obvious.Whilst travel andcommunications were slow, these local time differences were of little importance, and most townsand cities in Britain used local time. In the early part of the 19th century, communications started tobe significantly improved, the railways started to be constructed, and Telegraph communicationbecame common. In November 1840, the Great Western Railway ordered that London time shouldbe used in all its timetables, and at all its stations.Accurate time continued to be a problem. In London Henry Belville (known as "John Henry") wouldset the time daily on a accurate John Arnold & Son chronometer then travel round London passingout the ‘right’ time, for a small subscription.Henry continued to sell the time from 1836 until hisdeath in 1856. taken over by his widow Maria, the first Greenwich Time Lady. In 1892 (by then agedaround 80) Maria passed the family business to her daughter Ruth who became the most famousTime Lady.Ruth Belville had a simple routine: Every Monday she visited the observatory and had the accuracyof the chronometer (which she called "Arnold") certified. She then walked around London sellingon the time. This simple and relatively inexpensive service continued up until the 1930s.Today we have atomic clocks capable of measuring time with amazing accuracy, and we aresurrounded by pretty accurate time on computers, phones, cookers, etc etc. We have becomeobsessed by time, and desperately try to maximise every second. Time is a useful construct, aframework if you will for helping us to manage. Our natural rhythms are still governed by seasonsand the daylight each season contains. Not for nothing do we talk about seasonally affecteddisorder, or winter blues. Time is a tool to manage energy and give the brain recovery, but how a human being operates is human performance biology and is centred on energy management
  18. 18. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Circadian Rhythm/Your Body Clock The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that rules all of us. Cortisol levels, heart rates shift and change in patterns throughout your day. This internal body clock is affected by outside sources such as sunrise and time zones. And when your circadian rhythm is disrupted sleeping and eating patterns can be negatively influenced. Tip: Keep A Circadian Diary! Don’t assume you are a machine, concentration ebbs and flows over the course of an hour. When planning a future task how confident are you that you will maintain 100% attention over an hour?Taking breaks around every 90 minutes will probably make you more effective. Effective people are not problem minded; they are opportunity minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems. Dr. Peter Drucker 95% of your time and just about everybody else’s time is spent fire fighting. It is almost certainly not in your job description but it is the reality. Time for a serious rethink? Are you and other people being assessed on things to which you can only give 5%? Even if I exaggerate slightly you can see how there might be a mis-match.
  19. 19. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Pareto’s Rule is applicable to your life. 80% of what you do each day neither enhances your personal or business goals. Task: Take a minute to write down the level of control you think you have in the three areas shown. Does your score vary much between categories? If so, what are the reasons, do you think? If the scores are very similar, why? Today work is frequently complex, often with the need to make constant revisions not only to the work but also to deadlines. No wonder our sense of time feels distorted!
  20. 20. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 Multi-tasking is considered a tremendous boost to productivity. However, what we already intuitively knew has recently been shown by people such as Aral, Brynjofson and Van Alstyne that excessive multi-tasking causes projects to behave like cars on a motorway when overcrowding occurs and the slightest slowing in a lane begins to rapidly back up following cars. MIT Revue, “What Makes Information Workers Productive,” 2008 Also look at, “ Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: The Impact of Task Juggling on Workers Speed of Job Completion, Corviello,Inchino and Perisco October 2010. Chunking. How can you break down your working day to allow all tasks to get done? Apply this to both work and home. Particularly apply it to meetings at work otherwise people are only physically in the room, mentally they are napping. Mindfulness
  21. 21. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013 A good PA is unflappable under pressure. They are calm and able to think on their feet. The ability to work well with others, particularly difficult personalities is essential as top level PAs work with CEOs, in very pressurized environments. Let’s recap a little. You are the first point of contact for customers and clients, therefore PAs need to be good verbal communicators, with a pleasant, yet professional manner. The ability to influence people is also essential, as PAs need to negotiate with others for time and resources. Good written communication skills are
  22. 22. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013necessary because PAs often respond to communications on the bosss behalf, and sometimeswrite reports and executive summaries.A good corporate Personal Assistant is expected to have the following ITskills: Microsoft Word (Advanced); Microsoft Excel (Intermediate); Microsoft PowerPoint(Advanced); a good working knowledge of an email package like Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes,or Eudora. It is beneficial to have a good grasp of a database software like Microsoft Access, andsome knowledge of Microsoft Project.PAs should also be internet savvy, as they may be required to do research orperform tasks which require a good knowledge of the internet environment. Agood knowledge of e-commerce is a definite plus. An understanding of internet marketing andsearch engine behaviour will allow PAs to add value to their role and provide the best possibleassistance to their boss.In todays technologically advanced society, it is essential that PAs have agood understanding of new technology. PAs should keep abreast of the latest officegadgets, and technology as they are expected to know how to fix the office photocopier andunderstand the features on the bosss Blackberry. A good PA will recommend changes in officetechnology to improve efficiency. They will do the necessary research to understand howimplementing new technology will be cost effective for the company.Develop The Necessary Skills to: monitor the boss’s email and respond on their behalf;delegate work on the bosss behalf; manage the boss’s electronic diary; take dictation; preparepapers for meetings; book, manage, and minute meetings; organise and manage events; makecomplicated travel arrangements; prepare complex itineraries; manage a budget; attend events/meetings as the boss’s representative; conduct internet research; prepare presentations; writecorrespondence, reports, newsletters and executive summaries; update intranets and websites;maintain effective office filing systems; quickly and accurately type documents; source officeequipment and stationery; manage projects; supervise staff
  23. 23. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013Being proactive is the ability to control one’s environment, rather than have it control you, as is sooften the case. Self-determination, choice, and the power to decide response to stimulus,conditions and circumstances.Covey (see Stephen R. Coveys book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®) calls beginning withthe end in mind the habit of personal leadership – leading oneself, that is, towards what youconsider your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities you will build aplatform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.Putting first things first - the habit of personal management. This is about organizing andimplementing activities in line with the aims established in habit 2. Covey says that habit 2 is thefirst, or mental creation; habit 3 is the second, or physical creation.Covey calls win-win the habit of interpersonal leadership, necessary because achievements arelargely dependent on co-operative efforts with others. He says that win-win is based on theassumption that there is plenty for everyone, and that success follows a co-operative approachmore naturally than the confrontation.The habit of communication is extremely powerful. Covey helps to explain this in his simpleanalogy ‘diagnose before you prescribe‘. Simple and effective, and essential for developingand maintaining positive relationships in all aspects of life.Covey says synergising is the habit of creative co-operation – the principle that the whole isgreater than the sum of its parts, which implicitly lays down the challenge to see the good andpotential in the other person’s contribution.Sharpening the saw is the habit of self-renewal, says Covey, and it necessarily surrounds all theother habits, enabling and encouraging them to happen and grow. Covey interprets the self intofour parts: the spiritual, mental, physical and the social/emotional, which all need feeding anddeveloping.
  24. 24. The Notes© Kevin Chamberlain 2013You will find your voice when you can say you are 100% involved with what you are doing in yourlife, so that your body, mind, heart and spirit are all engaged in whatever is important to you. Tofind your voice, you need to examine your natural talent, what you absolutely love to do, whatreally interests you. And you must listen to the confirming inner voice of your conscience thattells you what is the right thing to do.It is nearly 30 years since Stephen Covey published his legendary work “The 7 Habits ofHighly Effective People”, which was a hugely impactful book, selling many millions of copiesaround the world.  In that book, Dr. Covey showed how to become as effective as we possiblycould be. In the 8th Habit, he opens up more potential for us – by moving from “effectivenessto greatness”. The world today is different, with more challenge, ambiguity and complexity andwhile the 7 Habits form a strong basis upon which to start, it is this next step – the 8th Habit –that will take us to true fulfillment in what Covey describes as the age of the knowledgeworker. The book is divided into two sections. The first focuses on “finding your voice” andthe second on “inspiring others to find theirs”. Here is a synopsis of both parts:Finding your voice.We can discover our voice because of the 3 gifts we are born with:Gift 1: The freedom to chooseGift 2: The natural laws or principles – those that dictate the consequences of behaviour.Positive consequences come from fairness, kindness, respect, honesty, integrity, service andcontributionGift 3: The four headline intelligences – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.