We will never know it all. Just when we “think” we do, a new concept, application or tool appears and we need to determine if it could be useful and make work easier for us and our teams. When that happens, we know that we should dedicate time to do our research and learn about it.
Being a continuous learner is important in our roles as administrative professionals because we are facilitators and innovators. Our companies, executives, and teams look to us continuously for solutions to challenges and it is up to us to find and execute them. One secret to our success is that we seek out new and different ways, not only to solve problems, but to streamline and transition to processes that save time and money.
In addition to learning for our companies, keep in mind the value of continuous learning for our own personal development. Because you have the desire to be the best admin you can be, the opportunities to learn and improve yourself become endless! Often times, it is these opportunities that excite us most and ignite the passion within us that helps us excel. The more personal it gets, the more invested we get. Learning from others offers us new perspectives we can integrate into our personal brand and keep our skills fresh.
Now that we’ve established why it’s important, let’s look at how to become a continuous learner. First, don’t be complacent. Actively pursue learning opportunities. In fact, block time on your calendar weekly to research or engage in learning. Placing time for learning on your calendar creates a constant focus on learning. Make a list of items you want to learn about and add items to the list as you come across things that interest you. Organize and prioritize the list when you are ready and able to commit to training. Prioritize items that are timely and applicable to existing challenges and current projects you have at work or items that will help you do your best work. Choose training on methods and programs that help solve a need. If you have to “sell” this training to your executive, learn how to improve your negotiation skills and then make the ask. Synching your learning with real-time initiatives and challenges is a winning strategy that facilitates forward movement toward successful outcomes for current challenges.
You might be wondering how you are going to find these opportunities to learn. One way is to be engaged by joining and following professional associations like ASAP that promote opportunities for training and networking like ASAP’s coffee breaks and other free and digital resources they offer. Join online groups and communities on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn about new resources and stay on top of current trends in the admin profession. Seek out formal training opportunities like ASAP's APC Conference and other conferences, workshops, and online courses you can attend. If your company’s training budget is limited, there are many free and low-cost options to choose from. When you find one, place it on your calendar, treat it as an appointment you can’t miss, take notes, and apply what you learned as soon as possible to demonstrate the value of your time and training to your executive and team.
Remember to reach out to fellow admins in your company or professional networks, especially those who are known as Subject Matter Experts (SME) when you have a specific problem you are trying to solve. Schedule time to talk with them about what they know that can help you. Offer to be an SME for others and share your expertise. Learn from each other by sharing information and collaboration to find solutions. You will also increase the bond you have with others in your company, your networks, and your industry which goes a long way when you are seeking information in the future. Finally, teach yourself by reading current business books, e-books, or audio books and subscribe to newsletters, blogs, and podcasts on relevant topics that provide you with tips and tricks you can implement quickly.
Being a continuous leader is important for you as a person and for you as a support person for others. Sharing what you learn with your executive and team demonstrates your commitment to your role and your willingness to learn and bring more to the table every day. Being known as a continuous learner enhances your personal knowledge and your personal brand. Being someone who is open to learning increases your knowledge and your opportunities to shine!
Lisa Assetta, Founder and Owner, Office Assistance Plus. Lisa Assetta is a career executive administrative professional turned online blogger and business owner during the 2020 pandemic when she launched her online company Office Assistance Plus. Lisa has worked in a variety of executive assistant, administrative support and customer service roles with chief executive officers, senior executives, and business owners in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, publishing, restaurants, and aviation. Her life-long passion for peace and her desire to support, mentor, and inspire others led her to launch a blog during the COVID-19 pandemic with the mission to share her expertise and help professionals adapt and thrive at working from home.