Collaborate to Innovate!

Feb 15, 2023 | Administrative Professionals, Innovation

Innovation is the key to moving forward in your admin career. Constantly brainstorming and implementing new ideas, improving on imperfect processes, and looking to the future makes you a valued part of your team, and shows your executive and organization that you have their best interests at heart.

Collaboration is a big part of innovation. Coming up with a great idea or a new way of doing things is good; working with others to make that idea or process the best it can possibly be is better.

Imagine you’re planning a big event for your office. You want to make a great impression, so you do it all yourself. You hire the caterers, design the centerpieces, book the keynote speaker, rent equipment, set the schedule – the whole nine yards.

The event goes…fine. But could it have been better?

Now imagine you collaborate with others to plan the event.

One of your colleagues has an eye for design, so they create the centerpieces…and they’re stunning. Someone else just returned from a conference where the keynote speaker made a huge impact on the crowd, so they suggest you book her…and she hits it out of the park. Someone has an uncle who owns a catering company and secures a discount, allowing you to come in under budget. Someone suggests you’d have better attendance if you held the event on a Thursday afternoon rather than a Friday night. Someone says that they’ve been to several similar events and the banquet hall at Hotel A is far superior to the banquet hall at Hotel B.

The “fine” event you planned on your own suddenly pales in comparison to the outstanding event you collaborated with others to plan.

That’s collaboration in a nutshell: A group of people working together, applying their strengths, and using their individual perspectives and experiences to make a good thing better.

If you’re lucky enough to be in an office with a bunch of willing collaborators, take advantage! Two heads are better than one, and the benefits only increase as you add more people to your innovation lab.

If, however, you find yourself on a team where collaboration is not the norm, you have your work cut out for you. In this case, it’s important to lead by example. Demonstrate the attitudes and behaviors you want to see from others and reinforce the benefits of collaboration whenever and wherever you can.

As you foster a more collaborative environment in the workplace, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been in a situation where our individual efforts were diminished because someone else wanted all the glory. Don’t be that person! I guarantee you that nothing will derail a collaborative effort faster than someone in the group making it all about them.

Collaboration and innovation go hand in hand – and it’s impossible to do either from a silo. When you’re willing to share your thoughts and ideas with others (and they’re willing to reciprocate), it will always lead to a better result than one person going it alone!

© 2023 Julie Perrine International, LLC


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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. 

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