Steven Gaffney, communication expert and author of Honesty Works! and Just Be Honest, served as keynote speaker at the WashingtonExec Executive Assistant (EA) Annual Committee Appreciation event for 2014, where all three Committee group members meet once a year. Held at the Staybridge Suites in Chantilly, Gaffney was invited by WashingtonExec 2014 EA Committee Chairperson Trish Stover of Leidos.
“The WashingtonExec Executive Assistant Committee kicked off the new year with dynamic speaker Steven Gaffney- who illustrated how honest communication can work in our professional and personal lives. Using humor, Gaffney was able to clearly demonstrate how important it is to ask many questions to discover the facts before making decisions – rather than trusting our imaginations,” said Stover.
Gaffney, a leading expert on honest communication and having difficult conversations, gave the attendees insight and specific strategies and techniques that could impact their value to their organizations as well as to their personal lives.
Two take away from the evening:
• The big problem in organizations is not what people say, it’s what they DON’T say to each other. The key for both organizations and individuals to be successful is to get the unsaid, said.
• Professionals must not make assumptions about situations or individuals without knowing the facts. After conducting an interactive exercise with the audience, Gaffney was able to prove that 50-70% of the time assumptions that individuals make about new employees, staff members or supervisors, are often wrong. Rounding out his point, Gaffney said, “The more we realize we may be wrong the better our life will be.”
The evening event was sponsored by The Staybridge Suites in Chantilly.
“It was an honor to host such an exciting and innovative group of leaders in the business community. WashingtonExec really proves that bringing people together around relevant conversation leads to growth in business and personal enrichment,” said Heeren Patel, Owner, Staybridge Suites in Chantilly.
During the first hour, attendees were able to network with other career-Executive Assistants within the government contracting community. Gaffney rounded out his presentation by providing attendees with what he likes to call, The Gaffney Guidelines:
1. Listen from a position we do not know
2. Self-righteousness is toxic to relationships
3. Time deepen wounds and deep problems
4. In the absence of notice people will fill in the vacuum with their imagination (i.e. personal opinion)
5. Build your network – avoid inbred thinking
6. Go fishing for honest feedback and ideas
7. Post a reminder sign that 50-70% of the time we may be wrong
8. Create a T-chart on notice (i.e. facts) and imagination (i.e. personal opinions)
9. Model the behavior you seek in others
10. We train and condition people in how we want to be treated
11. What you teach you will learn
Gaffney provided his wisdom on how to communicate effectively by communicating honestly and it was clear that attendees left with some new and useful information that could be applied to everyday life.
WashingtonExec hosts three Executive Assistant Committees, which together incorporate more than one hundred individuals from the government contracting industry. The 2014 WashingtonExec Executive Assistant Committees will be chaired by Trish Stover (Leidos), Debbie Dotson (URS) and Donna Burnette (ManTech International). The 2013 WashingtonExec Executive Assistant Committees were chaired by Lisa Robinson (Six3 Systems), Maria Cornell (CGI Federal) and Barbie Sandy (Oceus Networks). Our founding Committee Chairpersons include Jana DiCarlo (Serco), Martise Gibbs (CGI) and Reggie Hill (SRA International).
Previous guest speakers for the groups include Sid Fuchs, President and CEO of MacAulay-brown, Inc. (MacB), Mac Curtis, President and CEO of The SI Organization, Donna Morea, former President of CGI and founder of the Adesso Group, and Melissa Hathaway, former Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace for the National Security and Homeland Security Councils and President of Hathaway Global Strategies.
Read Jana DiCarlo’s latest guest columns on WashingtonExec Is Your Executive Assistant the Whole Package? and 7 Keys to Executive Success: A View from the Desk Outside Your Door. DiCarlo was EA to Ed Casey, Acting CEO of Serco Group plc, and now supports Dan Allen, who holds Casey’s former post as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Serco Inc.