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Adam Fidler shares how to “own it” by taking ownership

By Adam Fidler, Founder, Adam Fidler Academy

Adam Fidler is the Principal and Founder of the Adam Fidler Academy, which offers inspirational teaching and learning for PAs, EAs and business support professionals.

Adam Fidler, often gets asked what key attributes organisations are seeking in their EAs and he shares his insights with PA Life…

“I was talking to a group of EA students the other day 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’. 

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.

Let me ask you all a tough question: “Where do you, as an EA, see yourself in 2 or 5 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 2 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. That way, you show your boss you do have a plan, you have taken the time to self-reflect and 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?”

Adam Fidler is the Principal and Founder of Adam Fidler Academy, the UK’s leading provider of education to EAs and PAs. The Academy is one of the few institutions, worldwide, that offer formal qualifications to EAs and PAs, and is a preferred training provider to the Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA).

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