Friday, 21 April 2017 13:35

What Am I Missing?

- Author: IAM Team

It is very easy to come up with an idea, neglecting the thought process of how you're going to get there. It is the same when starting a new project, getting embroiled with the proposed outcomes and not how you're actually going to achieve it. Conversely, you being given an outcome to achieve, but with little clarity of the logistics and detail. 

Whether you are a detail person or not, one way to structure your thought process and manage a project, it to use a gap analysis which looks at the "current state vs future state". 

A gap analysis allows you to look at what needs to be done, before you decide what the best strategies are moving forward. Gaps can be in the form of people, processes or technology. 

To write a gap analysis you need to: 


What do you want the outcome to be? e.g. ensure clinic letters are out within 10 days from appointment? 

Outline what your current situation is

Who do I need to speak to to get the full picture? Where can I get information? Documents/workshops/meetings e.g. currently 30% of clinic letters are sent within 10 days. 

Write down what you can do to bridge the gap between the two 

For example, discuss a dictation system. Agree a checking system from clinicians so this doesn't hold up the process. Recruit extra resource. 

If you are presenting your gap analysis, for example, perhaps you are a manager disseminating information, make sure you put an appropriate amount of information in. Too much information could overwhelm, whilst too little information could cause confusion. 



•2020 project management: how gap analysis adds value to your business: 
•Editorial Team: Gap Analysis, Identifying what needs to be done in a project:





Published in IAM Blog
Friday, 21 April 2017 11:42

The Harmony of Leadership

Author - IAM Team 

Having been training managers and leaders for over 20 years now I have often used an orchestra as a metaphor for teams and the conductor as a metaphor for the leader. Below are my 10 key similarities and learning messages.

1.Have a clear vision.

An orchestra conductor has a clear vision. This vision has associated plans and strategies, i.e. the musical score that provides the detail of what each performer should be doing at any time, but it also has the conductor’s interpretation and personal view of how the piece will sound. Do you have a clear vision of your end goal? Do you have a plan (musical score) that will help you achieve your vision? 

2. Lead from the front and be visible.


The conductor stands on a podium so everyone in the orchestra can see them. This is the only way the orchestra can stay in alignment, with each player starting and stopping at the appropriate time.


Are you a visible leader who is visible to your employees and your teams? Or are you not spending time with your team and causing misalignment across the business?


3. Know when to delegate



The conductor delegates and focuses on what only he or she can do. The conductor doesn’t do everything. They don’t sell the tickets or participate (usually) in the preliminaries. They don’t even make sure that the orchestra is in tune. (The concertmaster does that.) They stay off stage until it is time for them to do what only they can do—lead. Leaders learn to delegate or burn out, it’s that simple. One of my favourite training clichés comes from time management – ‘the cemetery is full of indispensable people’. Whether or not you can do a job better than your staff you have to learn, and quickly, that you don’t have the time to do everything. Of course, if you hire the correct people, support them with training and motivate them then you won’t have to do everything yourself. Great leaders also know when to lead and when to let others lead. Do you know when to take the lead? 


4. Establish roles and responsibilities.

Orchestras have clearly defined roles and responsibilities and everyone knows what they are. Each musician knows when to play and how to play, when to come to the fore and when to drop to the background. The conductor will often be a musician, but they are rarely the best technically and they don’t actually play an instrument during the performance. In the workplace everyone on your team must fully understand their respective roles and responsibilities and how they fit into the structure of the team, department and the organisation as a whole.


5.  Provide coaching and feedback.


A conductor is not just there to keep everyone on time. They also act as the team coach, working to get the best out of each individual and the collective performance of the orchestra. They provide encouragement when needed (especially if there is a particularly challenging section in the music), and direction/redirection as needed - play faster, slower, quieter, louder and so forth. Coach and give feedback in a way that builds the confidence and capabilities of your team. Look at how well (or poorly) you’re communicating progress, direction and your vision to your team. Identify learning opportunities, skills that can be strengthened and gaps that need to be addressed. Learning is one of the most important aspects of successful leadership. 


6. Take training seriously…including your own



With a new piece of music an orchestra practises relentlessly until they are as close to perfect as possible. The best concerts are well rehearsed no matter how great the conductor is. Are you practicing your leadership? or do you assume that you will automatically produce great leadership "music without practice". Great conductors, and leaders, get the best out of their people at the right time, but they can't do that if the musician doesn't have the necessary skills. 


7. Act with integrity




The conductor leads with his heart and great conductors are swept up in the music. They don’t just play with their head; they also play with their heart. You can read it on their face and you can sense it in their movement; they are fully present and not just going through the motions. They have integrity. A conductor is not just there to keep everyone on time... Are you passionate about the vision and mission of your team? Your department? Your organisation? Do you lead with passion and conviction? A leader’s passion is infectious and generally seeps through the organisation.


8. Support your Team


The conductor keeps their back to the audience. Conductors are aware of the audience but their focus is on the players and their performance. The only time the conductor stops to acknowledge the audience is before the playing begins and after it is finished. Other than that, they are focused on delivering an outstanding product.



They ensure their musicians feel significant, accepted and secure. A conductor needs their musicians. Likewise, a leader needs their followers and needs to take time to develop their followershipAs a manager you will always have to be aware of the ‘bigger picture’, that’s part of your role. It’s something you are doing on behalf of the team so they can do their bit and you can keep them on the right track. But no-one else will look after your team and they will soon know if you aren’t supporting them.


9. Understand that small things matter



The conductor is aware of his or her gestures and their impact. A conductor can’t afford to make an unintentional gesture. Everything means something; they have to be precise or their musicians will not be able to follow.  The flick of the wrist, the raising of an eyebrow, and the closing of the eyes all have meaning. A good conductor can’t afford to be careless with his public demeanour.


Everything you do as a leader has to be intentional and clear. If you are vague you will be interpreted differently by each member of staff. 


10. Share success



The conductor shares the spotlight. When the concert is over, and the audience is clapping, the conductor turns to the audience and takes a bow. A good conductor immediately turns to the orchestra and invites them to stand and bow as well. They share the glory with their colleagues, realising that without them, the music would not be possible.


Do you share your leadership glory with your team? Are you a leader that gives credit back to the team? 



2. Lead from the front and be visible.

The conductor stands on a podium so everyone in the orchestra can see them. This is the only way the orchestra can stay in alignment, with each player starting and stopping at the appropriate time.

Are you a visible leader who is visible to your employees and your teams? Or are you not spending time with your team and causing misalignment across the business?

Published in IAM Blog
Monday, 24 April 2017 00:00

Common Mistakes....

Author - Heather Baker (Baker Thompson Associates)

There can be so many opportunities for error in writing. The speed of email encourages us to click on send without proofreading what we have written. 

Tight deadlines mean we don't always take enough care over our reports. Not only can this cause confusion, but also it reflects badly on our standards...and it's not just about spelling mistakes. I'm going to outline just some of the common mistakes that people make in business writing. 

Let's start with tautology, which basically means saying the same thing twice, but usually with different words and, therefore, it is less noticeable. For example, I've often seen emails which say things such as "I will revert back to you next week" or "this is an essential prerequisite". 

"revert" means to go back to or return, therefore, "to revert back" is tautology, the back is superfluous. A "prerequiste" is something that is required and, therefore, essential is not needed. 

Another error that is easy to make is not putting the correct verb with a subject, for example: 

  • The group are working well
  • The group is working well 

A group is singular and therefore the second version is correct. You could, however, say "the members of the group are working well". 

Another common mistake is the misuse of comparatives and superlatives. For example, if you are comparing two things, one is the better, not the best; something can only be the best of three of more things. 

  • This dress is the better of the two. 
  • This suit is the best in the shop. 
  • Of the two mountains, Sca Fell is the higher
  • Everest is the highest mountain in the world. 

And how about less and fewer? How many people flinch as they read "5 items or less" at the supermarket checkout? Well you should! It's incorrect should read "5 items or fewer"; read on..... 

It's all to do with countable and uncountable nouns and, before you doze off, this is very simple. A noun is countable if you can count it - for example, 1 bottle, 2 bottles. Bottle is a countable noun. Milk, however, is not (1 milk, 2 milks - I don't think so). 

If your noun is countable you should use fewer (items can be counted and, therefore, you should say "fewer items"), if it is uncountable you should use less (there is less milk in the jug than I thought). 

And finally, here are some more examples of when people didn't check carefully: 

  • After tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board. 
  • For anyone who has children and doesn't know it, there is a day care centre on the 1st floor. 

Just take that extra few minutes to check your work carefully- STOP BEFORE YOU SEND!

This article can be found on Baker Thompson Associates here




Published in IAM Blog
Monday, 24 April 2017 00:00

5 Ways To Getting Noticed On LinkedIn

Author - IAM Team 

Administrative Professionals’ Week is typically observed overseas, but as an international institution, we would like to give a nod to the week as well. As such, we reflect on valuable members of any organisation – administrators of all shapes, sizes and role descriptions. We all know that businesses need administration to run effectively and efficiently, so are your skills, knowledge and experience really getting the recognition they deserve?

A great way to get yourself noticed is via the power of social media. LinkedIn can be used to connect with many different individuals and companies. It helps you to network and build relationships with anyone from suppliers, customers and colleagues. 

First thing to consider is whether your LinkedIn profile is working? Did you just create a profile once to see the hype but failed to build up your page?

Try using these 5 steps to make yourself stand out from the crowd. 

Profile Photo 

While some of us would rather not post a photo or hate the thought of others knowing what you look like, it has been proven that a profile photo will create views 6 times more likely than profiles without a photo. This doesn't mean post your best picture of you on a night on of course. A clear, smart looking photo can score more views while looking professional. Aim for a head shot from shoulders above. If you have a professional camera then great, if not, your phone will be just fine. 


It's okay to brag about yourself, but try not to sound obnoxious at the same time. Write a summary about yourself and remember summary means concise. Don't start rambling. This is your opportunity to create a great first impression. Think about how you want people to perceive you. Hardworking? Motivated? Passionate? This is your chance to really sell yourself and engage the visitor to your page. 

Work Experience

You do not need to list every single job you have ever had in your life in your profile. For people who have a lot of work experience, it is best to list all of the roles which are relevant to your career. For those of you who don't have much experience, then it's probably wise to list the jobs you have had, even if it doesn't relate to your specialist area. It shows you have been an active worker. 

Don't forget to include any voluntary work you may have done and mention all skills you have developed throughout your working life. 


Start building your network. This is your chance to create great working relationships. Even if you don't know the person, send a request, introduce yourself and build a relationship. The more people you know, the better position you are to getting noticed. Posting updates, commenting on pages even liking posts are ways in which your name can be displayed on your connections homepage. They can get a better understanding of the area you work in, your interests in the sector and your knowledge. 

Ask For Feedback 

Your connections can write lovely recommendations about you. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Having a good relationship with someone will mean they are more likely to leave a recommendation about you. It can be daunting asking depending on who it is, however, if you have a good relationship, there's a high chance they'll be willing to give it. 

Asking your brother or sister to write a recommendation is not likely to be effective, especially if you have the same last name or don't work in the same field. Recruiters will look at who has actually written the recommendation. The relationship between yourself and the person providing the recommendation is important. For example, a manager recommendation will be more valuable than a colleague. 

The IAM in conjunction with The CV and Interview Advisors are holding a webinar, free for IAM members about getting your profile working for you on the 6th June 2017, including how to get your profile and CV working together. 




Published in IAM Blog
Share this page