“You’re an Administrative Genius!”

Apr 9, 2011 | Leadership

Do you know who an I.T. genius is? It’s someone who knows one more thing about I.T. than you do – especially when you’re in a pinch or need help.

The same concept applies in the admin world. Some days it doesn’t take much to be an admin genius. But to those we support, our one little bit of admin knowledge or expertise can make a big difference!

I was once working with a long-time client, friend, and avid binder user at her office when she exclaimed, “That alone was worth your entire trip today!”

What earth-shaking, innovative, mind-boggling strategy had I just shown her? How to insert a spine into a view binder. That may not sound impressive if you already know how to do it. But to my client, it was a simple tip that would save her a lot of frustration and time whenever she creates a new binder cover.

In the business world, this is referred to as the “expertise gap.” I was first introduced to this concept by Nancy Marmolejo (TalentandGenius.com). It’s the gap between someone else’s knowledge and experience and your knowledge and experience in a given area. We often assume everyone knows what we know, but they don’t. And while our executives may know more about some topics, they aren’t experts in the best practices and finer details of administrative support. That’s why they hire an admin. That expertise gap is where we create significant value to the executives and teams we support.

So what do you do with this expertise gap?

When I was an admin, my goal was always two-fold: to shrink and to expand my expertise gap every day. I shrank my expertise gap daily by generously sharing the knowledge and experience I had with others. I expanded my expertise gap by doing a few key things to continually add value to the executives and teams I was supporting.

These expertise-expanding activities include:

  • Regularly interact with other smart, experienced professionals in as many varied professions as possible. You can do this through professional association memberships, face-to-face networking events, and social media sites.
  • Take advantage of every free and low-cost training opportunity. Social media is another great resource for finding these options. You can also get weekly updates on upcoming training by becoming a member of the All Things Admin Online Training Center and subscribing to the All Things Admin newsletters.
  • Work with other admins every chance you get so you can learn their tips, strategies, best practices, and shortcuts to standing out in this profession. I’m constantly snagging new shortcuts or website resources from the members of my own team. And they’re doing the same with me.
  • If someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, look it up for next time. You may not know the answer the first time, but make sure you do the next time someone asks.
  • Plan and budget annually for your professional development. Whether you work for a company that budgets for your professional development or not, it’s ultimately your responsibility. We live in a knowledge-based economy. If you aren’t continually learning and educating yourself – no matter what your age – you can’t stay relevant in this profession.

If the little things we know can make such a big difference to those we support, imagine the impact our full administrative expertise can have if we regularly share it with others. The more you share your expertise, the more you become recognized as an expert in your profession.

And since I’m sure the suspense is killing you, I’ll share my secret for successfully inserting view binder spines smoothly and wrinkle free every time. I have three basic tips.

Tip #1: Always turn the binder inside out before you begin stuffing the spine label (see photo).

Tip #2: Make sure your spine label is trimmed narrowly enough to fit inside the spine size you’re working with.

Tip #3: If the paper is flimsy or even standard 20 lb. paper, trim a piece of cardstock to use for additional support to push into the spine with the paper. Place the cardstock behind the label until you get it pushed almost in. Then gently pull the cardstock out using your finger nail to hold the paper spine label in place. Finally, ease the last remaining portion of the paper spine in the rest of the way.

BONUS TIP: To get a spine label out of a binder, use a small Post-it note and slide it down behind the spine label so the sticky side is against the spine label. Press it firmly so the two sheets stick together. Pull the spine label out using the Post-it as a pull tab.

What are you doing to shrink and expand your expertise gap? What tips or resources make you feel like an admin genius? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

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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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