With the new way of working in 2020, the vast majority of the workforce started to learn new concepts and capabilities together–the office toolbox deepened and different approaches began to take shape.
Not only was change being observed globally in the business sector, a shift in people’s mindsets started to drive refreshed outlooks on career trajectory, unleashing trends that were breaking historical numbers in resignations, moves out of the big cities and the rise of entrepreneurship. People were pausing their daily routines and discovering that planning for what’s relative in their life revealed a refreshed sense of being present in the things that mattered most.
After a couple years of self-discovery, working from home, juggling personal schedules, childcare and virtual learning, the business sector flipped again. People were faced with decisions to either fall back into the daily grind and give up the precious hours that they found were taken back from exhausting commutes or to find a balance. While demands were made in corporate America directing everyone back to the office, people were not jumping in their cars, train stations or subways to answer the call to action. The article, How virtual work is accelerating innovation, published by McKinsey, reveals new approaches to flexibility that will allow for organization’s to disrupt the recruiting model–lifting restrictions on borders.
While conditions and circumstances quickly advanced the way we work today and the leaders continue to develop and/or revise office protocols, the executive assistant needs to keep pace with the onset of the changes to be able to guide the workforce along. The role of the executive assistant not only empowers the influential leaders to build the foundation and motivate the workforce, they need to be able to pivot and introduce the new concepts. For instance, gatekeeper for the executive is out and gateway is in. The focus is now on team dynamics that flow with the culture and strengthen the ecosystem built around diversity and flexibility.
People are discovering what fuels their energy in the things that they do everyday and leaders are listening. Meeting of the minds are brainstorming methods to expand on hybrid models and allow the workforce to manage their energy and mental health. Hitting reset also means that workflows and office automation will be refined and here again, the executive assistant will communicate and deploy what’s in and what’s out.
The paradigm shift is broadening conversations and the office of the future is being designed with a focus on productivity and flexibility taking center stage. Tap into the following resources to expand your toolbox and discover tips along the way.
Microsoft is listening to customers and answering the demand for the platforms to align features to hybrid models. One of the latest updates includes a change to the MS Office Outlook meeting response buttons…. YES!! A helpful solution to hybrid work and take guessing out of meeting responses. The meeting RSVP options will add an extra button to adopt the flexible options to include <Accept In-Person> & <Accept Remote>. This update will be available in Outlook on the web for O365 users. Get the scoop here.
With workforce models changing, the best practices need to be framed up to deliver on the user experience from regular meetings to offsite events. The events landscape is modernizing the ways to unfold the ultimate event and CVENT outlines a few common dilemmas along with tips and tricks to help planners avoid pitfalls in their blog: Hybrid Events: What You Need to Know
“Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them. We don’t just need a new guide to leading in times of change or adversity. We need a complete rethink, a revolution.”Bob Chapman
Our values, internal compass and guiding principles factor into everything we do—the human spirit is fueled to action when there’s a common or mutually agreed purpose. This filters into the fabric of the business and shapes the culture. Behind the walls of corporate America you will find executive assistants who keep the drum beat aligned to the rhythm of the business, doing their best to keep everyone connected to the core of the organization. Celebrate them!
What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think about who you are at your natural best self? Is there a specific time when you felt most proud of what you accomplished? How did past experiences shape who you are today?
Allow yourself to explore the lessons learned and the wisdom that guided you along the way. By freeing your mind to accept that both success and failure contribute to your organic growth, the pattern of what sets your soul on fire will start to form. If you plug along traditional norms, the actions may not always align to your internal compass which draws less than ideal energy. But aiming high and putting people first, will unleash collective power and potential to generate optimal outcomes together.
Knowing what is possible based on factors that have contributed to the current state will determine how the vision of your life unfolds. Through the grit and the grind, you will own many things, but no one other than yourself, will own your identity and choices. These two elements in life may shift from time to time depending on how you let society change the course of your journey. Bottom line, don’t let anyone or anything take over the narrative of your story.
Take a moment to pause and pen your thoughts. What is practical to develop a growth mindset? The criteria and foundation that comes to mind will reveal your why. To dive deeper into self reflection and discovery, check out the book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. Understanding the conditions that allow you to thrive in will lead to experiences that fulfill you because everyone is their best self when they are aligned to their core.
Sometimes taking a moment for self reflection can surface roadblocks–discover the depth you can grow by being the true authentic self you are designed to be and make an impact to build a better tomorrow for all.
Taking the time to discover your why will help understand what fuels your energy in the things that you do everyday. Before I read the books, Start With Why and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek, I already knew the elements that make me fulfilled in my professional journey, but the examples and stories solidified that I am on the correct path.
There were times in my executive assistant career that I dropped into a slump and reflecting back, the environment and conditions I was working in did not align to my core sense of purpose. Understanding what connects you to the very existence of your being will help identify the things that matter most both personally and professionally. I have learned that the collective power of the people are fueled to action when there’s a common or mutually agreed upon vision–we all understand the destiny but our paths to get there can vary greatly. For instance, the latest trending Wordle game has brought co-workers, friends and family to share their status and winning streak–everyone can start with a different word of choice but ultimately will land on the the right one for the day or not.
Through a discovery process, think about what comes naturally and releases a positive flow of energy. Pen your thoughts, highlighting the areas that allowed you to thrive and marking the ones that blocked your sense of impact. Take it a step further and note the people you were with, the environment and how the experience made you feel–by documenting a week or two will show where your internal compass was aligned to your being. Furthermore, the patterns will reveal the conditions to avoid and the ones to focus on that will allow your fullest potential to shape who you are designed to be.
Explore and discover what sets your soul on fire will solidify your passion and emanate the positive flow of energy–shining the light on your why too!
The hustle and bustle of Corporate America is where some of the most powerful and influential leaders shape the future of organizations–behind these walls the executive assistant bridges the strategy and vision the executives form to grow and remain competitive in today’s ever-changing market.
A blockbuster movie with a stellar cast, The Devil Wears Prada, captivated the fashion industry–the narrative gives a glimpse into the hustle behind the scenes of how supporting an ambitious executive is never the same on a given day. While some of the scenes are over the top, there are multiple performances that the executive assistant can relate.
In the profession, there is no task too small or impossible to help level-up the executive’s office to rise above the challenges that come with a highly visible and demanding leader. The TV sequel Suits is another storyline that brought dramatic scenes in a law office to light and the character Donna Paulsen, who knew her worth, went from a paralegal to chief operating officer. Over the course of the six seasons, the narrative unfolded the role of an assistant and how emotional intelligence is key to recognizing areas that needed attention to maintain a cohesive office.
Both of these dramas show that having thick skin is critical for an executive assistant to thrive in the trenches and turn chaos into order. Focusing on driving meaningful progress and hone in on the bigger picture can be exhausting but also very rewarding while trying to juggle and balance the life outside of the office to remain at the top in the field.
An ultimate game changer who rocks the walls of Corporate America is the executive assistant who empowers the influential leaders to build the foundation and motivate the workforce to execute against the strategic initiatives–a powerful partnership and force multiplier can break-down barriers and disrupt the way we work.
While we figure out new ways to work, technology continues to advance and automation is being weaved into our everyday lives.
The way of the future is accessibility with simplicity in mind to bring a seamless experience by leveraging technology to fill in the gaps. Today’s workforce is changing and people are being selective in the careers of choice to focus more on the value of life. This is creating a shift in the resources available, resulting in skill gaps and reduced manpower available to fill jobs.
AI will automate a number of jobs but it won’t replace everything as outlined in 6 AI Myths Debunked published by Gartner. Taking stock of what needs to change now will prepare businesses to thrive for years to come. For instance, self-check-outs are increasing and grab-and-go models are being introduced. It will be interesting to learn how this will impact retail and grocery store shopping.
Business enablement will reengineer the traditional ways of working, shopping and traveling by implementing the latest advances in delivering, selling and servicing. The Forbes 1000 summit opened up conversations on how small businesses can thrive and propel forward with the right tools and resources. While the pandemic created a number of businesses to close, there were a record number of new small businesses created in 2020.
“Small businesses accounted for two-thirds of net new American jobs before the pandemic. Our Next 1000 Summit will empower the brightest small business leaders who are driving the economy forward, disrupting industries and challenging the status quo,” said Maneet Ahuja, Senior Editor, Forbes.
Reshaping the future of corporate functions as identified in this McKinsey report will redefine support roles and create new ones as organizations adopt and streamline operations. The future of workforce ecosystems will evolve and become increasingly important for environments inclusive of humans and machines. Solving for the customer and employee experience now will not only drive growth but also attract the right talent to support the collective vision and build a culture aligned to what matters most.