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Breaking out of the status quo

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in Admins,Office Management

What sets top-notch assistants apart, says administrative coach Joan Burge, is not accepting mediocrity but knowing they have something more to offer. “Today we can’t afford to cruise around and be content, because it’s too competitive of a workplace.”

Rather, the excellent admin must strive to break the status quo.

Here’s how:

Ask yourself, “Am I polishing the status quo at work, or am I deeply involved in changing, improving and creating a more effective workplace?”

“I’ve seen admin teams involved in getting job titles, job descriptions and salary ranges changed, all to improve their roles,” says Burge.

Example: A team of 32 admins at Dow Chemical Canada saved the company $1 million by streamlining the supply-ordering process. Instead of each department making its own orders, they centralized the process to move and share unused inventory.

Be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to pursue new processes or techniques that will result in greater productivity. “When you’re busy, it’s a lot easier to go with the flow and not put in the time it takes to think about improving a technique,” says Burge.

What Burge appreciates in her own assistant, though, is the way she comes up with better ways to do things on her own. “She doesn’t wait for me to ask her.”

Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Take it with you on your journey, says Burge. Over time, you’ll conquer fears to achieve more. “I used to have a terrible fear of speaking in public,” she says. “But I also wanted to help assistants, and speaking was the vehicle I had to use to get there.”

The first several times Burge spoke in public, it petrified her. “I was shaking inside. A 15-minute talk felt like six hours! But today I love what I do. Just think if I’d quit after the first couple of times and said, ‘This is scary. I don’t want to do it anymore.’”

She might never have broken out of her status quo.

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