CAREER DEVELOPMENT: Take ownership of your goals

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“Own it” by taking ownership!

Adam Fidler, Founder of Adam Fidler Academy, the UK’s leading provider of education to EAs and PAs recently talked to a group of EA students about the importance of ownership in their careers. “Now, you might ask: Where has this word come from and why is it important? Well, the funny thing is that over the last few years, in particular, through the client and in-house work that I do, I’ve found many organisations say that a key attribute they are seeking in their EAs today is ‘ownership’. 

Ownership extend beyond your role

When you think of ownership, you may be tempted to think about ownership purely in the role that you perform. Naturally, an EA needs to own their work, be responsible for getting things done, for performing well and for delivering on the service they provide.  However, ownership extends further than that, and that’s why the clients I am referring to ask for ownership of a different kind.

Ownership also means that EAs and PAs now need to take charge of their career  and their professional development.  So, as well as owing their tasks and activities, the expectation is that they also own their career goals and objectives – rather than waiting for someone, such as the boss, to know that for them.

What’s your vision for your career?

Let me ask you all a tough question: “Where do you, as an EA, see yourself in two or five years’ time?” It’s a hard one, I know, but you really need to have an answer.  Because if you have, then you’ve clearly taken ownership of where you want to go in your professional life.

Far too many Executive PAs fall into the trap of saying, “I’ll just wait to see what happens,” or “I will see if my boss gets promoted.”  That may have worked in the past, but in today’s competitive and ever-changing labour market, if you don’t know where you want to be, you’ll never move forwards. Without a plan, you’ll drift and never achieve anything of any substance in life.

So, the next time the boss asks you, “Where do you want to be in two years’ time?” show ownership by knowing where you’re going and being able to articulate the answer. Have a vision for yourself; know your strengths and weaknesses, and put a plan together. I guess I’m saying: have a strategy for your EA career. Show that you have aspiration. That’s how the bosses have got to be where they are – by taking ownership. Why should it be any different for an EA?

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    Marja Toseland

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