Staying Relevant: Collaboration is King

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

There’s nothing quite like having someone you work closely with, who understands your industry, day-to-day, struggles, etc. Being able to brainstorm with your Executive is something an app can’t do. Are you exercising your collaborative muscles?

Some people prefer to go to work, put in their eight hours, and go home. How does keeping your head down and limiting human interaction contribute to the success of the business or organization you work for? Some of the largest, most influential companies are made up of partnerships for a reason. Having business partners and/or coworkers by your side can turn a singular idea into a multifaceted creation to incorporate into the workings of a company. Even in a time of pure remote communication like now, partnerships and brainstorming can easily be achieved. For an Administrative Professional, forming this type of partnership with your Executive is not only the most valuable, but in an ever-changing landscape and with the looming threat of automation, demonstrating the value of this element of your partnership is one of the best ways that you will stay relevant in your industry and in your role. 

Why Collaborate with Others

Collaborating with others and creating an example of effective teamwork is a vital part of being an Administrative Professional and begins by learning to work with your team. Brainstorming, for example, is a collaboration that works toward the solution of different issues. Developing a solid brainstorming partnership between 2 individuals or a small group is a process that takes time but will help to facilitate the evolution of the business. 

The more an Executive Assistant displays trust in other team members, the more a sense of comradery, and respect for each other will ripple through the work environment, making everyone treat everyone else equally. With similar logic, when a lower level Assistant displays initiative and quickly adapts to how they should be working alongside management, people notice. This could increase the likelihood of you or your team being promoted.

There are millions of people in this world with millions of different perspectives from life experiences you may not have. These experiences lead to ideas and ways to approach a project you may not have. The only way to gain a leg up on the rest is to access these out of the box ideas sitting in the minds of individuals who may work at a different level or in a different sector of the office than you do. The positive outcomes of working together also go beyond business. While contributing to an online article entitled Why You Should Never Try to Build a Company Without a Partner, Matthew Roche, CEO of Extole, claimed “In addition to offering clarity, a great partner should also provide an element of therapy when appropriately needed. Very few roads lead straight up in the startup world, so it’s a huge benefit to work with someone who can shore you up and keep your eye on the prize.”

How to Collaborate and Brainstorm Successfully

Now that you have formed partnerships and teams with your fellow Assistants, how do you facilitate a successful brainstorming session? The most important thing to establish within a group of teammates brainstorming is trust. If others feel like they can be heard without quick judgment, incredible ideas will be voiced. It is important to keep track of each person’s idea, no matter how crazy or outlandish it may sound, because you may go back to it later with a fresh set of eyes and maybe even additional minds and find something innovative within the details. In a 2015 blog posted by Simone Ball on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business, he offers tips during brainstorming sessions and recommends to “Arrange for a whiteboard, or colorful stationery supplies for those involved. This will help people to connect images to their ideas and build on the ideas of others.” Two heads really are better than one because one person’s idea can spark another idea, which can eventually lead to something game-changing for a company.

Brainstorming and Partnerships Amidst the New Normal

In the wake of a 2020 pandemic, office environments function very differently. Each point given above can be easily executed regardless of the remote requirements Executive Assistants currently possess. Even before the COVID crisis, people all around the world would use virtual and telecommunication mediums for social and professional interactions with others. You can easily meet and interact with other Assistants from the company you work for on many platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more. Once the relationships have been created, Assistants of different sectors and levels can brainstorm together using today’s latest application and website innovations. The website Ideascale.com offers an in-depth list of the 12 Best Free Online Brainstorming Tools in 2020.

Creating partnerships and learning how to professionally collaborate are the keys to proving your upper level management how you adapt and evolve in a way that no app or robot will be able to. At the end of the day, your ability to utilize your human perspective and your human connections will be what keep you relevant in the eyes of your Executive, so flex those collaborative muscles!

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer