Now that you have survived Halloween, we are on to the next holiday. Last year, around this time, I saw great article in my Training & Development magazine entitled Feast on Achievement. I thought this would be a good theme as we move towards the festive season.
Today, I want to focus on what achievement means to you. Several times, I have read that human beings are designed for achievement. It is human nature to want to achieve things or feel a sense of achievement in our professional and personal lives. But what does achievement look like to you? What does it mean to you? How will you know when you arrived?
I really don't believe that we "arrive." I believe that we set a goal such as having a great relationship with a family member or getting a promotion at work and then strive to achieve it. Once we achieve it or maybe achieve several goals we have set, then we take a rest (or as I refer to it, we sit on a plateau). After we catch our breath and give ourselves a pat on the back, we set new goals and strive to achieve them.
As many of you know, I speak about the 5 Pillars of Life: Career, Family, Financial, Spiritual and Wellness. What do you want to achieve in each of those areas? Clearly define what you want and a target date. If you do not make "it" by the date you set, set a new date. Or, you may decide that goal, new house, career move, item, or relationship is not as important to you anymore.
This week, take some time and answer these questions:
- Career: What is one specific area or project I want to accomplish before year end?
- Family: (Remember, this Pillar includes friends, co-workers, and pets). At work, who do I need to get to know better? In what ways can I do that?
- Financial: What must I do to financially prepare for the holidays? Am I giving anyone at work a gift? What is a reasonable amount to spend?
- Spiritual: When can you set some time aside for yourself to relax or do something pleasant for yourself during the month of November?
- Wellness: How can you get more exercise or get your body moving to offset the extra food you will be feasting on over the festive period?
Martin Hiller, Editor: Meetings and SA Conference
For more articles like these visit www.saconference.co.za
When deciding on a conference or event venue, it is important to ask the following questions:
How accessible is the venue? Making it easy for delegates to attend is a top priority when deciding on a venue. You must make sure that the venue can be reached by public transportation. Make sure that there are attractions nearby as delegates may want to do something during downtime.
Does the venue offer complete meeting packages? Affordability is a major factor when choosing a venue. Complete meeting packages are a great way to save.
How big is the space available? The larger the property, the more the event planner has to work with. At a large venue, breakaway sessions can be added to the event's programme.
What are the venue's Wi-Fi capabilities? With the increase of ownership of smart devices, it is important to ensure that delegates are connected at all times.
Is there AV on-site? Having to hire AV companies may be an extra cost but using the venue's own AV technician can help one stay within budget.
Is the kitchen able to cater for delegates' various dietary requirements? With South Africa's melting pot of cultures, it is always important to make sure that you are able to cater for various dietary demands.
Do breaks dictate the event programme? If your event needs flexibility, make sure the venue is able to provide all-day refreshment stations.
What is the distance from the venue to the delegates' accommodation? A successful event involves having the learning and living in the same area.
What are the distractions in the venue? Various venues have direct access to recreational facilities such casinos and shopping centres, which may reduce delegate attendance after registration.
Who will be the main point of contact? Speaking to one specific person ensures a better line of communication.
Based on SAQA's Unit Standard 115214, Level 4, 5 Credits
Events do not just happen by themselves, they are well planned, specifically orchestrated and extremely coordinated.
This practical course is designed to save you time, money and frustration, without omitting any of the necessary steps. It will provide the particulars that make up the big picture of event planning, giving you advice, suggestions, tried and true methods, hints, tips, instructions and organisational plans.
It will take you from the concept to the thank-you notes. We've included real-life case studies and tons of very extensive checklists to get you started on your own events!
- Develop the confidence to successfully organise events
- Identify and avoid pitfalls
- Plan spectacular themed events
- Create and flex a budget
- Understand the fundamentals of effective negotiation
- Handle the unexpected
- Evaluate how successful the event was
To find out more about this programme, contact Claudette Scholtz on (012) 998 3668 or email her at Claudette@siyanqoba.co.za. To see the full range of qualifications and short courses offered by Siyanqoba visit www.siyanqoba.co.za. Remember that OPSA members qualify for a 10% discount.
The results of this year's UK National PA Survey are now out. Completed by a sample of 1018 PAs working across the UK last month, the survey results provide a fascinating insight into the role of modern PAs - often the unsung heroes of the workplace.
"There are an estimated 650,000 people working across the UK in a PA role - and although their job titles may vary and the industries that they support can be worlds apart - together their profession contributes positively to the productivity of every single part of the economy," says office* event manager David Maguire. "By recognising - and promoting - the achievements of PAs on National PA Day, we aim to encourage greater support and enthusiasm for the profession as a whole."
Whilst there never could or will be such a thing as an average PA, these results do provide something of a snapshot. The majority of survey respondents, for example, have been working in their current role for 1-5 years, their salary is around £28,000 (around R450 000), they feel appreciated by their boss, are highly motivated, and, very evidently, enjoy the important work that they do.
But if they could change one thing about their roles (aside from pay), it would be to highlight the important contributions and commitment that they collectively make to UK businesses every day. A simple tally reveals that (after salary), long hours, their colleagues' misconceptions, and feeling undervalued, top the list of PA bugbears. That said, given the importance - and necessity - of a strong, close working relationship between a PA and their boss, over 68% of respondents stated that they felt 'appreciated' by their boss.
Summary of the 3rd annual National PA Survey
A taste of the results can be found below, while the full list is available www.nationalpaday.co.uk after the office* show.
How well do you feel your pay reflects what is expected of you in your role?
On a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the highest, how appreciated do you feel by your boss?
Do you feel that being a PA is undervalued as a professional career choice?
No opinion 7.2%
Reports in the media suggest that the economy is improving. From your experience would you say your company has a more positive outlook than 5 years ago?
Much more positive 16.3%
Slightly more positive 28.3%
The same 24.6%
Slightly less positive 12.8%
Much less positive 8.2%
Do you feel secure in your current role?
Do you stay in touch with the office when you are on holiday?*
Yes, I check in daily 14.9%
Yes, I check in occasionally 29.5%
I am available if an emergency arises 33.6%
Does your boss expect you to work outside of your contracted office hours?*
If yes, how many additional hours a week do you work?
Under 1 hour 6.1%
1-2 hours 18.3%
2-3 hours 16.8%
3-4 hours 11.1%
4-5 hours 13.8%
5-6 hours 9.0%
6-7 hours 6.1%
More than 7 hours 18.9%
Not Answered 440
Would you lie to cover your boss?
I frequently do! 19.3%
It depends on the circumstances 71.9%
I never would 8.8%
If you could change one thing about your role, what would it be?
- Greater awareness of depth and strength of the PA role, sadly the role is still widely misunderstood and undervalued.
- To have the skills that I possess recognised and put to good use.
- Recognition from others of the importance of the role within the management structure.
- Reward and recognition in society overall that a PA does more than type and answer the phone!
- Nothing I would change, I love the role!
- Change people understanding of the role. Educate them. Most management couldn't do what the PA does for any length of time.
- Less hours...we do a basic 45 hour week.
- Receiving a salary that shows the company recognises the effort I put into my work would be good. Apart from that I wouldn't change a thing.
- To be given more of an opportunity to contribute in meetings - rather than the person just there to take notes.
- Currently around 30% pro-active and 70% reactive - I would like to create more of a balance between the two.
- Nothing really, just wish there were more hours in the day!
- I'd prefer to work for 1 or 2 people instead of 4. I'm a very organised person, and not easily flappable, but I struggle to find enough hours in the day.
- To spend a bit more time with my boss on a 1-1 basis. And be a mind-reader!
- To have time to complete a job before having to start another.
- Quite happy with my role. If I wanted it to change I would actively go about changing it.
- The salary - it needs to reflect what we do and the knowledge that we hold.
- I love it just the way it is and wouldn't change a thing.
- To have more time with the boss to understand his role more fully so that I can assist more.
- I'm in the very fortunate position that I'm in a role which I totally enjoy and have the respect of my boss - very rare these days.
- People's impression that you are a glorified receptionist; when the chips are down and an emergency arises they soon realise that you are a linchpin holding an awful lot of the company together.
- For other people to stress less around me, I am a PA - I know what I am doing and until I stress no one else needs to!
View the full results
Crabtree & Evelyn (Photo with the following copy: Discover the 2013 Crabtree & Evelyn Gift Collection, the key to exploring a magical, natural world this festive season. Step inside the Still Room, forage through the fairy tale of the hidden flower beds and breathe in a bouquet of nostalgic Christmas aromas and tasty delights. Welcome to the Secret Garden.
Consuelo Meux, Ph.D.
Office politics is a fact of life. Political activity is influencing others to do what you want. It is supposed to be a positive idea. Unfortunately, politics has a negative connotation because we only hear the negative in the news. The question however, is what do you do when confronted by politics in the workplace that takes the form of loose talk, often referred to as gossip? Here are seven top tips to keep women leaders out of trouble when confronted with office politics.
Be careful who you talk to. If you find yourself in a sticky situation of hearing information you don't know what to do with, the best thing to do is nothing. That's right, don't be the person who spreads the word on what you hear. The people in the office just have to hear you speak one word about another person that doesn't sound right and they might point their fingers at you as the one that started the talk. Your reputation could be in trouble just that fast.
If you're tempting to talk about someone but feel you couldn't say it to his or her face, definitely don't say those words to that person's back. That's a simple rule that lets you measure how ethical you're talk really is. The rule of ethics is if you wouldn't want someone to walk in unexpectedly and hear what you are saying, don't let the sayings come out of your mouth at all.
Don't get pulled into hearing talk that could get you in trouble. If someone decides to tell you a bit of gossip, do what you can to get away as quickly as possible. What you don't know you can't be a part of. Don't let others drag you into an office politics problem by hearing things that could be questionable about someone else on the job.
Learn to turn the tables on someone who is talking about things you don't want to talk about. In other words, learn to change the topic by asking the other person more questions. Answer a question with a question if necessary. When the person answers, proceed to ask them more questions until it becomes obvious that you are doing the asking not the answering.
If necessary, confess that you don't like to gossip or hear information about certain situations. If you know what you are hearing can compromise your position, just say you don't want to hear it. When someone asks "Have you heard the latest?" just smile and say nothing and suddenly remember you have something to get to right away.
If you are the topic of gossip and it gets back to you, you have every right to approach the person who has your name on his or her lips and let him know you've heard the talk. Ask first if what you heard is actually true. You don't have to be confrontational, but do be honest. Say you heard that he was saying things about you and you wanted to understand what was going on. After talking things through you will probably stop the person from gossiping about your again, especially if he knows you'll find out.
Be sure to find out about the truth in what you hear. Remember the old saying "be careful what you hear?" Verbal messages have a tendency to become distorted as they are passed along. By the time you get the message, what was originally stated may not even be in the context of the message. If you decide to pass along what you heard, you could be a part of spreading lies that should have never been told. Just stay out of it and go about your duties.
Office politics is meant to influence others to do something you want done. It can be a positive thing if used correctly; however, it can also be destructive. Do what you can to avoid gossiping and getting involved in negative office politics. Besides, it's always better for the woman in leadership to listen rather to comment; you really learn so much more when you listen and don't speak.
|Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.