Must-Have Skill for Executive and Administrative Assistants At All Levels

The shift into a new age.

America is moving out of the Information Age and into the Conceptual Age, where creative thinking will become as essential as logical thinking.

The must-have skill for executive and administrative assistants at all levels going into this conceptual age? Creativity.

“The Conceptual Age already is well under way. For decades, big organizations that have benefited from analytical and functional left-brain aptitudes are now finding themselves in need of softer, right-brain skills. Fiscal responsibility and global knowledge are no longer sufficient to maintain competitive advantage.” – Daniel Pink

What can creativity do for me in the workplace?

At our 21st Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence we are diving into creativity, big time! Actually, I have been teaching administrative and executive assistants the skill of exercising their creativity for two decades. It’s nice to know I’ve been ahead of the curve. All kidding aside, learning to access the right side of the brain—the creative side can help you in many ways in the workplace. I have found creativity to help me:

  • Work through tough problems
  • See my work in a new way
  • Add interest to mundane tasks
  • Deliver a more impactful message when communicating with individuals
  • Visualize possibilities that help our company grow
  • Manage conflicting situations
  • And more!

What about those of us who aren’t creative?

You might be thinking, “I’m not creative. I can’t draw nor can I do graphic design work.” Well, everyone is creative—just in different ways. I have proven this many times when teaching my Level III Star Achievement class. I ask participants to bring something to class that represents creativity to them. You would be amazed the wonderful things people bring to class. In fact, I am going to ask the same thing of this year’s conference participants. So, if you choose to attend, you can start thinking about what you will bring that represents your creativity. You can bring a photo of something, like maybe a garden you created.

To help you exercise your creativity, relax. Try not to force ideas but rather let them rise up.

Ask questions.

Another great principle is to look at your work with a question mark; be inquisitive. As you go through your day, ask yourself:

  • How can I streamline this process?
  • How can I simplify this project?
  • What if…?”
  • How can I do this faster or more efficiently?

As you ask questions, eventually your subconscious will seek out answers and new ways of doing things. I call this principle: Look at your work with a Question Mark, not a period. Try it; I think you will like it.

Joan Burge


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