By Dr. Lisa Van Allen
Administrative professionals play key roles in every industry. They work in both generalized and specialized positions, at entry level and with graduate degrees. Support professionals are often the glue, the hub, the gatekeeper, the calm eye in the center of the storm of corporate activity. The challenge is there is no clear definition, no reliable measure, and no consensus on what makes an excellent administrative professional. In The Innovative Admin, Julie Perrine has hit on a key factor in what makes one admin rise above the others. That factor is innovation.
Early in my career, I had an assistant named Penny. Penny didn’t just do her job, she helped me do mine better. If I needed a certain document, she knew where it was and had it copied, collated, and placed on my desk before I even asked. She fielded questions from staff, board members and clients. They knew she knew what I didn’t know or forgot I knew. Penny always made me look good – personally and professionally. She was an efficient colleague and trusted confidant. We were a team. Her best gift was her ability to bounce ideas around with me as we collaborated on new solutions for our clients. Penny was open to innovation. This made her priceless to me.
A few years later I had another assistant I’ll call Sue. Sue prided herself on her efficiency. She had been providing support to executives for years and came with excellent references. It became clear early on that Sue was going to have a hard time excelling in this position. Sue was very traditional and most comfortable doing things the same way she had always done them. Our office was very diverse, made up of creative, out-of-the-box change-agents. Sue could type at the speed of lightning, take concise meeting minutes, and kept an exceptionally organized desk. But Sue was unable to see herself as part of a problem solving team. Sue lost her job, not because she did anything wrong, but because she didn’t do anything better. Sue was not open to innovation.
Twenty-five years ago, an admin’s primary responsibilities included transcribing, sending documents, and scheduling meetings. Technical innovations have resulted in software that handles those tasks for me now. But at this point in time, I work with several support professionals who handle everything from web design to event planning for my business. I rely on these professionals to know what I don’t know and offer solutions I don’t even know I need. The times demand professionals who are prepared to offer creative solutions and new ideas. The times demand professionals who are prepared to innovate.
Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Research has shown that some of the best and most sustainable growth occurs from ideas generated at the most “hands-on” level of a workforce. The business culture that embraces creative thinking and change agency will be blessed with growth and profitability. The same is true for the administrative professionals that embrace innovative thinking.
You can choose to be a valued team-member and collaborator in your company.The Innovative Admin will chart the course.
If you’d like to be one of the first to know when The Innovative Admin book is “officially” available, visit www.TheInnovativeAdmin.com and click the order now button. You’ll be added to our VIP notification list immediately.
Dr. Lisa Van Allen is the Biz Doctor. She helps entrepreneurs and executives identify the beliefs that are barriers to success and implement strategies that support a life of passion, purpose and profitability. Her book The Belief Quotient is being published by Hay House/Balboa Publishers in spring 2012.
© 2012 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 request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.