Regardless of the size of the organization or business, the leadership team needs to reinforce this role.
Editor’s note: We are thrilled to have a guest series of Lynn Walder, an executive director with over 20 years of experience (including 10 years focused on biotechnology) and a strong advocate for the function of business administration at the executive level. In this article, Lynn discusses how a business administration partner can bring what she calls “stratactic” value to an entire organization. In my experience, the challenges that a CEO of a biotechnology company faces are no different from those that a senior researcher or division/department head faces when trying to establish or grow their research programs.
In the first entry in this series, “‘Manager of the divers:’ why you need a business administration partner”, we explored the evolution of the administrative function and its value proposition for the management team. management (with cascading benefits for the whole company), while in the second entry, “Properly Integrate a Business Administration Partner into Your Management Team”, we covered the more practical aspects of how to see, integrate and use the role of a business administration partner for optimal success in a rapidly expanding biotech start-up environment.
In this final installment, we’ll look at the executive-aligned growth and development framework for your business administration partners, ensuring that the autonomous administration function continues to deliver “stratactic” value across the board. of the organization as your biotechnology continues to develop.
Below are key operational recommendations on how to empower the business administration partner role as your business (and the administration function itself) continues to grow…
Dedicate monetary resources to senior management development for directors
It is absolutely imperative that companies recognize that the role of administration is just as worthy of targeted professional development as any other position within the company.
With the Director of Business Administration continuing to evolve into a more strategically integrated role, training offerings have been enhanced to meet this need. Some personal favorites for national conferences and online training focused on advanced management-level administration include the Executive Leadership Support Forum (ELSF) and office ninjas. For corporate administrators who are already managing cross-functional strategic initiatives (i.e. annual rollout of OKR – objectives and key results – executives or driving an off-site executive leadership strategy), I highly recommend joining the Mastermind Groups Chief of Staff moderated by Tyler Parris (one of the thought leaders on this unique business administration role).
The benefit of investing in dedicated administrative professional development is twofold. First, information learned from these conferences can be brought back and shared with other administrative support staff, which amplifies a sense of community based on shared growth, collaboration, and trust (mandatory characteristics for any top-tier team). level). Second, improving an employee’s abilities usually results in better business results.
It’s also important to support your admin in pursuing advanced-level parallel training that could expand (or amplify) their current responsibilities. For example, in a previous role, my scope of responsibility included recreating, re-launching and fully managing an enterprise integration program as well as managing general internal communications at the executive level. To help with both of these efforts, I attended the annual three-day WorkHuman conference (usually aimed at HR executives) and a corporate communications conference. Although these conferences were not explicitly focused on “administration”, the value I was able to bring to my project deliverables at the enterprise level was a win for me AND the business. Career administrators take tremendous pride in constantly improving their skills to bring exponential impact to the companies in which they work. By investing in the development of your business administration managers (as you would with other traditional function-based roles), you are ultimately investing in the future success of your business through a strong workforce. engaged and educated work.
Encouragement and support for the pursuit of “painful” cross-functional projects
When leadership helps their business administration partner seek out “painful projects” internal to the company (e.g., delayed or under-resourced projects in other functional areas of the company), it benefits both to the individual (by gaining trust and skills within other departments) and to the business (by using already hired talent to solve secondary problems). An example of what this can look like in a startup might be when a corporate administrator partners with the COO to fully manage the RFP process and subsequent implementation and training for a new provider platform. Or, multiple administrators can partner with HR and IT to create more intuitive technical training modules for onboarding (especially for software platforms whose administrators are power users, such as Microsoft Teams) . Companies, departments and managers should encourage – but not force – cross-functional project work among administrative staff, as it becomes a win-win for everyone involved through increased operational production, experiential development and the potential money saved through the cross-use of time and talent.
Set up an “administrative cohort”
The historical functional structure of executive administrative support within companies has by default a compartmentalized approach where the role remains quite limited to the framework with which it associates and/or the department in which it works. Due to this siled approach, administrative support mechanisms within companies have been seen as expendable because their incredible knowledge and expertise has been diluted to the point that it can no longer be linked to business results and /or drive them.
When your company is ready to move beyond the initial hiring of a business administration partner and begin expanding the administrative team, the first step to help rectify the traditional silo of this unique function is to implement a collaborative administrative support model (what I call thecohort of administrators”), where resources (time and talent) are pooled through an integrated support/advocacy group and then strategically aligned to a company’s most pressing needs. Whether you are a group of three startups or a powerful legion of 3,000 people, this structural change offers a direct value proposition to ensure the success of the company as a whole (vs. departments or executives), in the framework of a cross-matrix growth mindset model. To find out what this cohort model looks like in practice, you can check out a recent case study on its implementation here.
If companies begin to implement the philosophical, structural, and operational suggestions associated with the evolved executive-level business administration partner noted in this series, a more direct link between bringing in high-quality talent and producing more strategically linked added value will occur. Mindful integration of upfront growth versus afterthought growth, strategic support versus tactical support, need for ROI versus additional need – these are the mindsets business leaders must address to successfully integrate and support the function at high added value from a business/executive administration partner within your growing biotech business.