Five Helpful Ways for Administrative Assistants to Think Strategically

April 1, 2023


An administrative assistant thinking strategically and setting defined goals with a group of coworkers gathered around her computer.
Thinking strategically involves setting clearly defined goals.

If you are an administrative assistant, then thinking strategically is an integral part of your job. Commonly unbeknownst to others, administrative assistants have a hand in almost every single day-to-day operation of an organization. This makes thinking strategically even more vital to their role than many others in a company. 

Supporting every team member within an organization is a big task. It requires multitasking, flexibility, strong organizational skills, and strategic thinking. Read on for ways you can start thinking and acting more strategically as an administrative assistant. 

How to Think More Strategically 

First, you need to be proactive. Strategic thinking requires action, initiative, quick response, and foresight for the future. It also requires considering opposing views or opinions, taking into account future challenges, and a willingness to continue learning and growing. 

Training your brain to think more strategically requires practice. Here are five helpful tips on how to think more strategically. 

Set Defined Goals

Carefully consider and identify the goal you want to achieve. This can be as simple as streamlining an office process. It can also be as grand as revamping a section of the organization. Identify your goal and know exactly what your plan needs to achieve. 

Do You Research 

If you have an idea or plan to improve your company, do your research. Gather information on costs, personnel needed, and reasons why the current system isn’t optimal. Be sure to present reasons why your system will improve functions of the business. If you do thorough research, your ideas will be better accepted by your direct supervisor and the Executives of your company. 

Consider All Outcomes 

Whenever you are proposing a shift or a change in operations, it’s important to consider all the possible outcomes. Take into account how other departments may respond, how this change will affect costs, and additional resources that may be required. If you’ve taken the time to consider all outcomes, presenting your idea will be much more well-received. 

Make a Decision

Once you have identified a clear goal, completed thorough research, and considered all the outcomes, you need to make a decision. The truth is, change is never easy. Humans by nature tend to be creatures of habit in the workplace. 

Although your proposed changes may not be enthusiastically welcomed by all, make a decision and stick to it. If you’re confident in your research and have thoroughly analyzed all the outcomes, sticking to your well-thought plan should be no problem. 

Implement, Adapt, and Adjust 

Implementing and adapting is a two-part step. If you intend to introduce a change or a new operating basis into your workplace, you should have an implementation plan. This could include an office-wide memo, a training packet, or a webinar. Regardless of how you decide to go about it, implementing your plan should include education and clarity for all office personnel – even the higher-ups. 

Once you have implemented your plan, be open to adaptation and adjustments. Most new systems and procedures have a learning curve. Be open to adjusting and adapting, keeping your goal in mind along the way. 

Big Picture Thinking: The Key to Strategic Thinking

Big picture thinking requires focusing on the entire concept or outcome, rather than each individual step of a plan. Many administrative assistants think this type of planning should be left only to executives or upper-management staff, but that is not the case. Since administrative assistants have a hand in every working part of the day-to-day activities of a company, those who have mastered big picture thinking are invaluable! 

Cultivate Strategic Acumen 

Strategic acumen is the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions while being strategic. The best strategic thinkers are always educating themselves. They are open to advice and input from others, aren’t afraid to take risks, and always keep the big picture goal in mind. 

If you want to strengthen your abilities to think and act strategically, check out our weekly resources, including our Admin Month 2023 webinar: “Strategic Thinking for Results: Skills for Competent Critical Thinking.” Join our training seminars, online webinars, and in-person events for more opportunities to grow your skills as an administrative professional. 

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