Creativity is such an essential competency for Assistants to have and here is why. We are faced with unusual requests and challenges every day. We often have to ‘think outside the box’, to come up with solutions to problems that most other people in the office wouldn’t even know where to start. We are asked to solve problems and make the lives of people around us easier and often the only way to succeed at this is to think creatively. Sure, we can solve a lot of problems because we know what is going on the in business, we have a great network that can help, and we have experience solving these issues in the past, but high-level Assistants also use their creative skills to brainstorm ideas and come up with new solutions. It doesn’t stop there, we are also asked to do a lot of different tasks and depending on the industry you work in, it might be the case that you are one of the most creative people in the room. So if you do have lots of creative ideas and you can visualise and display your work creatively, this will add so much value (think at the very least what you could do with your Executive’s PowerPoint slides). So, let’s have a look at how to be a creative genius at work.
How to be a creative genius at work
The first thing to say is that creativity is highly valued in the workplace so do shout loudly that you have these skills or that you are working on improving your creative thinking because senior level Executives do need creative thinkers around them to help with problem-solving and decision making. Everything I have read about creative thinking indicates that this skill can be improved, so if you don’t feel like you are particularly creative you can learn how to think more creatively. Here are a few suggestions:
- Surround yourself with creative people. If there is somebody who is particularly creative in your office try to get some time in their diary to meet over a coffee and pick their brain. Ask what books they read, podcasts they listen to and ask for any advice on how to be more creative in your working environment.
- Use your imagination. This means being more open-minded to new possibilities and ways of working. Don’t limit your thinking in any way even with tasks that you do all the time. If you do those things with your eyes closed (as we often do), this will limit your imagination and thoughts on what can be improved.
- Organising your creative thoughts. Again this is something that Assistants have in abundance – organisational skills! If you are creative and you can arrange your thoughts into such a way that you can communicate them clearly and sensibly – well, lovely readers, you are on to an absolute winner!
- Ask lots of questions. This is something that is going to set you up for so many areas of the role but asking great questions really will fuel your creativity. Always be curious.
Creative projects for Assistants
If you are unsure where to start on your creative genius journey lets have a look at some of the projects that you can get involved with that will help you develop your creative side.
- Events. There are lots of elements when planning events that can really showcase your creative side. Everything from the food to the stage set, badges, placeholders, entertainment, team building and invitation design. There is a lot to get stuck into when it comes to creativity and events.
- Website / Intranet. Are your intranet pages looking a bit out of date? You can really bring them to life if you have some creativity and some knowledge of building a webpage.
- Newsletters/blogs: if your Executive is struggling to communicate with the team why not suggest a monthly newsletter or series of blogs that you can help design and write?
- Social media: Managing your Executive’s or your organisation’s social media accounts will really help increase your writing skills; you can play around with graphics and videos.
- Streamlining processes: Write down all of the processes that have pain points and brainstorm a few ideas on how to resolve those issues. For example, does your organisation have a slow travel booking process? What can you suggest to improve the experience for your colleagues?
- Presentations: I’ve mentioned it already but you can really make your Executive’s presentations a lot more interesting if you use a bit of creativity. Death by Powerpoint is real people!
- Take part in corporate social responsibility activities: If you work in an organisation that really cares about their culture you will find there are lots of activities that you can take part in that will help fuel your creative side and you will probably come into contact with other members of staff with the same outlook on life as you.
- Office photoshoot: Have you updated your organisation’s headshots recently? Working with a creative person like a photographer will really help spark your creative side too. You could also work with a photographer to get great shots of the behind the scenes actvity in your organisation – or take the pictures yourself!