Administrative Assistants have a very exciting professional life nowadays. They delegate, prepare presentations, manage projects, plan events and conferences, train and supervise staff and are the gatekeepers for access to the Executive Boards of companies.
On October 20th we had our second Administrative Assistant meeting at Amcham (Curitiba) in English. We started talking about all the activities they perform and the importance of information and knowledge in their personal and professional lives. Much of what we know has been learned informally through experience, but knowledge management plays a very important role inside organizations. If we think about training and delegating, it would add a lot to the quality of our professional and home lives (can you imagine kids that actually helped with the housework?). What is news is that there is a lot more available in the market, WEB 2.0 came and is here to stay, and we are being led to improve our skills and become more responsible for our own learning.
We also talked about leadership and saw a video that Nick Milton shared at KM Brasil 2011 (you can find it at You tube - Leadership from a dancing guy). It shows how a movement is created in 3 minutes, the role of the leader and the role of the first followers; the importance of embracing followers as equals and the courage of both the leader and the follower. Actually, leadership has been over-glorified. In the end, there would be no leader without followers. The power of change is always in the hands of the ones who stand out in the crowd and dance, together.
Then, we had a look at the companies. Interested in increasing turnover and retaining knowledge, they push a lot of tools and theories on to their staff in an attempt to improve their management. The problem is that the best tools will not work if people are not willing to use them. A shift in organizational culture is what would make the difference. The shift from “my” knowledge to “our” knowledge, from “keeping” to “sharing”, from “being afraid of showing weaknesses” to “asking questions”. Asking and sharing is the first step towards learning. And this was what really made all the morning’s work rewarding: all agreed that despite not being an easy task, this was a path worth following.