How to Create an Administrative Alliance at Your Company

The Force Multiplier position (Executive Assistants, Executive Support Professionals, Chiefs of Staff, etc.) is a unique and complex position. Individuals in these roles are simultaneously called upon to lead and influence change (with no formal title of authority), while maintaining diplomacy (saying enough, but not saying too much) and doing it all from “behind the scenes”. Couple that with inadequate formal professional development opportunities and an unclear career path, and individuals in Executive Support positions often feel lonely and isolated.

An executive assistant or administrative alliance at your company may be part of the solution to increase the legitimacy and visibility of the role, while providing support, professional development, and growth opportunities.

Not sure if you or your company would benefit from an administrative professional or executive support professional alliance? Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do you want to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals, as well as share your knowledge and expertise?
  2. Are you looking for additional professional development opportunities?
  3. Do you want new and diverse perspectives about the work you do and how to improve?
  4. Do you want to improve communication and collaboration with other administrative and executive support professionals in your company in order to work more cohesively and efficiently?
  5. Are you looking for a way to increase your visibility at your company and take on more leadership responsibilities?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above, you would likely benefit from creating an administrative and executive business partner alliance. Check out the steps below to get started.

1. Set Your Intention

Before you get started creating an administrative alliance at your company, take inventory of the current state of administrative support within your organization. What is working well? Where are the gaps or areas of improvement? What will be the intention and objective of the group?

Get clear on what you want the alliance to be and do. Will it be to foster collaboration and connection? Share best practices and provide continuing education? Improve cross-department communication? Just as importantly, identify what you do NOT want to the group to be (i.e. a place where people complain and gripe with no constructive feedback or solutions).

In addition, consider how the alliance’s objectives will fit into and support the overall goals and objectives of your company.

2. Create a Project Proposal

Once you’ve set the intention for the alliance, create a project proposal for the group. This doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should show that you’ve considered things such as the goal of the group, how often the group will meet, who will be invited, who will lead the group (and any additional support needed), the time required to run the group, a proposed budget, promotion for the group, and how communication will be managed.

Consider your audience for this proposal. You will likely want to share the proposal with your leadership team and/or HR. In addition, it will serve as a jumping off point to share with potential members to gain interest and understanding.

3. Gain Leadership Support

Now that you’ve created a framework for the alliance, you’ll want to present your proposal to key stakeholders and decision-makers to get their support. Make sure to share the goal of the group, and specifically how it will benefit the organization as a whole. Your leadership team and HR can be great allies in helping promote the group, as well as help advocate for additional funds, speakers, and training opportunities.

4. Invite Members

Reach out to administrative and executive support professionals in your organization and invite them to join the alliance. Highlight the benefits of the group and how it will support them in their current role, while also providing career development opportunities. You can use your initial proposal to create graphics or one-sheets to share the mission and goal of the group. You can also hold informational sessions to generate interest and answer questions.

5. Establish a Structure

Determine the structure and format of the administrative alliance. This can include regular meetings, online discussion forums, social media groups, or dedicated communication channels. Decide on the frequency and duration of meetings or events, ensuring they are feasible and convenient for participants. If possible, schedule all meetings in advance for the year, along with any special guests or events that you plan to have throughout the year.

6. Plan Activities

Create a plan for activities and initiatives a year in advance, if possible. This may include knowledge-sharing sessions, training workshops, guest speaker events, peer mentoring programs, or collaborative projects. Spend at least a month with the group first to insure their needs and interests are taken into consideration when designing these activities. Keep in mind that less is more, at least in the beginning. You want to gain interest and build engagement without making the alliance feel like one more thing on the to-do list. Lead with high value masterminds or special guests, and allow the group to naturally expand into more meetings or subcommittees as you prove the concept of the alliance.

7. Set Up Communication

Set up communication channels or platforms where alliance members can connect and communicate effectively. This can be an online platform, email distribution list, or dedicated messaging group. Encourage active participation, sharing of ideas, and open communication to foster a supportive and collaborative environment. Get clear on who will be managing these channels, and who will be responsible for sharing updates, and monitoring issues or questions.

8. Share Resources

Gather and provide relevant resources, such as articles, templates, tools, book and podcast recommendations, or training materials, to support the professional development of alliance members. These resources can be shared through the network’s communication channels or made accessible through a shared drive or section on the company intranet.

9. Promote Engagement

Regularly promote the alliance and its activities to ensure ongoing engagement and participation. Use internal communication channels, such as newsletters, company-wide announcements, or team meetings, to highlight the alliance’s achievements, upcoming events, and success stories. Encourage members to actively contribute, share their expertise, and take on leadership roles within the alliance.

10. Evaluate and Adapt

An administrative alliance is not a set it and forget it project. You’ll want to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the administrative alliance and seek feedback from members. Assess the alliance’s impact on members’ professional growth, career advancement, collaboration and communication with other Force Multipliers, and the overall impact on the company. Adjust and refine as needed to ensure the alliance is meeting the needs of the members based on feedback.

Ultimately, an administrative alliance is designed to bring together administrative and executive support professionals to share knowledge, collaborate, develop professionally, and build strong relationships. These benefits contribute to a more efficient, connected, supportive, and engaged administrative community within the company.

And a more engaged and connected administrative group at a company can effect real change. There is power in numbers. There is power in a collective voice speaking up about best practices, titling, compensation, leadership opportunities, and more. The Executive Support profession is on the cusp of systemic change and every voice matters.

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