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Teaching "Old Dogs" New Tricks

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Question: Having been here five years, I'm the newest person in my office. I'm also the youngest admin here by at least 20 years. However, I have 15 years of experience as an administrative assistant/office manager.

Recently, I was given the task of developing some training programs for admins. Can anyone suggest how to begin this sort of program, given the fact that, while I've received many compliments from "higher ups" on my skills and efficiency, some admins think there is nothing more to learn ... and, especially, nothing that I can teach them since I'm the "young thing," as they say.

I don't want to come across as a know-it-all, but at the same time, some people haven't bothered to keep their skills current and there really is room to grow.  -- Ann


If it is Admin. training, we're trying the OPTIONS training material via IAAP. Fairly inexpensive and everyone works at their own pace. Also, we've done some social events w/ our admin. group as well so people get to know each other on a personal level which seems to help the relationship as co-worker.
Good Luck!

I would probably start with computer training. Especially if you bring in an outsider to do it so your colleagues don't feel slighted as they might if you led the training yourself. (Get a college student if you don't want to pay a pro trainer.) In my office, it always seems like there is less resistance to computer training than for the "soft" skills (such as time management, communication, etc.) and might be a good way to get people on board with the training idea at first.

I started several lunch and learn's at a company I recently left and it was received extremely well by a wide range of admins. I had an initial one to try to find out what they wanted to know. I also asked several of them that had shown exceptional skill at something to help present. They have to be willing but that is a great way to get the support from the A As that have been there a long time. The Lunch N Learns only last an hour. I did some prep work by sending out an email asking for questions to address the speaker. We had Accounts payable speak to us once and had several questions to ask them. The speaker had time to prepare or find the appropriate answers prior to the presentation and was better prepared to deal with the kind of questions that were sure to come up at the actual meeting. There are always departments that are a challenge to understand and sometimes it is easier to start within and bring the admins information about their own company they never would ask about for fear of looking stupid. Everyone wins. You learn more about the internal workings and each other in the process.
Kandice Gunn
Assistant to VP, Technology
TALX Corporation
St. Louis, MO

Sometimes the best way to give instruction is to ask for advice. Try an Admin's Lunch where you ask each admin to bring in a list of 2 or 3 of their personal tips to share with the other Admins. Let each admin explain or "teach" one of their tips then open the floor for discussion, pointing out what makes that tip work, asking for comments or ways it could be modified for others to use, just make sure that nobody's tip is ridiculed or dismissed as useless. You can direct the flow of the discussion and add some pointers of your own. After a couple of these lunches you'll probably find that the other admins will be open to more structured training.

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