For the last seven years, I have been on a mission to change the world for Assistants.
I have spoken to thousands of you in hundreds of countries and encouraged both you and your Executives to recognise that you are professional business people and that this is a career of choice.
We have connected the leaders of this profession from all over the world and they are working together like never before.
Our message has always been that this is a profession that is going through a period of intense change, that you need to step up and invest in your personal development, that those that don’t will be left behind, and that if you want to be treated as business people you need to behave like it.
It appears that now is the time for the perfect storm and several key factors are in play.
The first is the most obvious for the profession. World Summit in Frankfurt this October WILL change the landscape for the Administrative Profession globally. The coming together of the world’s leaders in one place has never been so vital or the conversations so key to making the change needed to professionalise the role of the Assistant.
Although we have representatives from all over the world, we want every country to have a voice. Take a look at http://www.worldadministratorssummit.com/participation.html to see if your country is attending.
The second is the intense noise currently around AI, which is forcing business to take a second look at all roles and how they can work in tandem to become more efficient. Much has been made about whether the Assistant role will be consumed by the onslaught of robots. The truth is that AI will replace the role as it was. If you are still reactive, task-based, non-questioning and subservient then the likelihood is that your role will soon be obsolete.
The Assistants that survive will be those that understand soft skills. The modern-day Assistant is proactive, emotionally intelligent, understands the business, has exceptional communication, leadership & collaboration skills, is project based and makes a confident contribution. It’s what the world’s CEOs are telling us they want from their Assistants and AI cannot step into these shoes.
And the third is the #MeToo movement. There are some sensational men in this profession and we can’t wait to see more join. Victoria Darragh’s excellent ‘Not Just a Girl’s Job‘ campaign is doing some great work here, but there is no getting away from the fact that this is still a 98% female profession.
For women, the #MeToo movement could be the most important story of the decade, and it touches all of us. There’s a breach of trust when powerful people behave selfishly and put their needs ahead of the workforce, and there is a definite charge in the air that says women won’t put up with it anymore. One only has to look at the numbers of women that marched just last week to see how the resistance to abuse of power in any form has taken on a life of its own.
#MeToo has empowered women to speak up for what they really want in the workplace, to cut through the power plays and to find their voices like never before. We are eight years into the role change made necessary by the recession, during which Assistants first became middle management. It’s time to take your place at the table, to get the role reclassified, to see a clear career progression put in place and to get you the remuneration you deserve for the work you do. The subservient Assistant role has been blown apart and your world of work has changed forever.
We’ve had had a glimpse of the new world order for Assistants and it’s looking fulfilling, exciting and everything we hoped that it would be.
But the time to step up and grab it is now – we are not waiting anymore. 2018 is your year – make sure you claim it for your own!