1. Figure out what they really want ... and deliver it. When Seattle-based admin Judy Beebe was a receptionist, her supervisor asked her to find out how much a phone maintenance plan would cost. So she called the phone company and got the cost. Done. Right?
Instead of stopping there, Beebe took 10 more minutes to glance through all the phone-maintenance requests. She discovered that over the past year or two, the company had placed X number of service calls that cost X number of dollars per call.
“I gave that information to my supervisor, along with the suggestion that it would be cost-effective for us to purchase the phone maintenance plan. I took the initiative and added a value-based response, instead of just meeting the minimum objective. Guess who the company promoted to the project secretary position within a few months?”
2. Close the gap between what you know and what you need to know. In one recent role, admin Kandice Gunn, of St. Louis, realized she had a lot to learn in order to do stellar work. “I needed a way to tap into several different people’s talents and skills,” she says. “I needed to know how they did the job and what techniques they had that they could share.” So she launched a Lunch ‘n’ Learn program, and everyone who attended came away feeling more confident and competent.
Taking the initiative also stretches your skills. As Beebe says, initiative also gives you “a sense of pride and kudos from your peers.”