I recently started shopping for a new refrigerator. I had no idea how advanced this core household appliance has become. From making multiple types of ice to meal planning, searching recipes, grocery shopping, and playing music through apps installed on the fridge door, refrigerators have adapted to the 21st century consumer.
I’m not entirely sure I need all of these features, but now that I know they exist, I’m already thinking about how to integrate them into my life to add value and save time and money.
As assistants, our executives may be completely satisfied with our skills and abilities today. But that doesn’t mean you should stop learning, growing, or exploring what else you can do to be even more valuable. As the modern workplace continues to evolve, you must embrace innovation and adaptability to stay relevant and indispensable as professionals. You need to become The Innovative Admin™.
Before we go deeper, let’s define who The Innovative Admin™ truly is. While creativity generates amazing ideas, innovation is all about putting those ideas into action. The Innovative Admin is not just someone who generates creative ideas; it’s someone who actively seeks and implements new or refreshed methods to add value to their team and customers. For some, this comes easily. For others, finding the confidence and courage to take action on their ideas is daunting. So how do you begin?
- Choose the Innovation Mindset. In my book, I talk about starting the process of becoming The Innovative Admin by choosing the Innovation Mindset. This mindset fosters a desire to learn, adapt, and view challenges as opportunities for growth. The path to implementing our ideas is rarely straight or easy, though. There are always valleys and detours that occur. Being able to challenge your thinking patterns and being open to exploring alternative approaches is essential for helping you become more adaptable. Knowing what the journey looks like helps you navigate it more successfully even when things don’t go according to your plans.
- Collaborate to innovate. Effective collaboration involves adapting to different work styles and ideas. Working with others allows you to see new perspectives and enhances your adaptability. 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!
- Know yourself inside out. Emotional intelligence allows you to navigate change with empathy and composure and be more adaptable. A personality profile is a great resource for better understanding yourself. By learning your overall work style, the type of environment in which you perform best, and how you prefer to approach problem-solving and decision-making, you’re able to set yourself up for success and adapt in any situation.
Once you have these foundational elements in place, here’s how you can apply the habits of The Innovative Admin to become even more adaptable.
- Start journaling. Journaling can help you reflect on your experiences and reactions to change, promoting self-awareness and adaptability.
- Create space for innovation. Create an environment that supports experimentation and adaptation. Designate a portion of your day or week for creative projects, brainstorming, or research. Adapting to change becomes more manageable when the environment around you encourages innovation.
- Find a hobby. Hobbies can provide a space for you to explore new interests and skills, promoting adaptability by fostering a willingness to try new things outside of work.
- Develop your business acumen. Having a strong business acumen can help you understand the broader context of your work so you can adapt more easily to changes in the industry and market.
- Develop a personal advisory board. Building a network of mentors and advisors provides a valuable support system during times of change, aiding in personal and professional adaptation.
- Embrace technology wholeheartedly. Technology often brings significant changes to workflows. I highly encourage you to embrace technology and learn new tools to adapt to the evolving work landscape. Technology is only going to get more complicated, but when you’re growing along with it, there won’t be as much of a learning curve as there would be if you were starting from square one.
- Commit to lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is essential for staying adaptable in a rapidly changing world. To enhance your versatility and ensure that you remain relevant in the admin profession, you need to constantly be on the lookout for ways to continue your education and further develop your skillset.
- Exercise initiative. Taking initiative can be tough for some admins. But once you get over the hurdle, it empowers you to adapt to new challenges and opportunities instead of passively waiting for direction.
- Seek challenges that stretch you. If your never force yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll never be able to grow. Don’t be afraid to take on a challenging assignment or lead a project. These experiences will help you expand your skillset and ultimately become more adaptable!
Why Your Executive Needs The Innovative Admin
Your executive relies on you to be more than just a support person. The Innovative Admin is proactive in problem-solving, seeks improvement opportunities, shares insights, takes initiative, and makes their executive’s job easier. An adaptable admin instinctively knows what their executive needs and anticipates potential challenges.
Embracing the Innovation Mindset is key to staying relevant in your career. This mindset enables you to navigate the ever-changing business landscape with agility and confidence.
The world of business is constantly evolving, and so is your career. Just like common household appliances, you have the power to upgrade yourself and remain relevant through innovation and adaptability. By embracing the Innovation Mindset, you can transform into The Innovative Admin and be ready to tackle any challenge, lead change, and thrive in a dynamic workplace.
© 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.