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Cross-pollination can pay off for your support staff

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Meeting Management,Office Management

Senior executives at large companies often attend intensive advanced management programs through local universities. Aside from the actual knowledge that they pick up in these courses, the participants usually find that the real value comes from getting to know other business people in entirely different industries. “Spending two weeks away from the office on a college campus with dozens of smart managers gave me a chance to exchange ideas and compare my challenges to the ones they were facing in their jobs,” says a VP at a mortgage servicing firm.

Although such programs are geared for high-potential managers, you can give the same opportunity to administrative assistants and other support personnel. How? Take a few of your hardest working aides and invite them to join some equally committed support people from other companies in your area for a two- or three-day retreat. Let managers at other firms know that your goal is to stimulate creativity and provide a forum for secretaries, clerks and other key assistants to share skills and experiences. Contain the costs by having each participating company contribute to the event. Don’t overload the “curriculum” with lots of dry seminars; leave plenty of unscheduled time for the group to mingle and help each other learn and grow.

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