Successful executives share their early career mistakes

Lessons learned in developing a growth mindset

Failing forward is an opportunity to grow.

Embracing mistakes and using the knowledge and experiences gained as steppingstones can help individuals improve and make progress on the path to success.

University of Cincinnati corporate partners revealed some early lessons that helped them develop a growth mindset to make better decisions.

Three executives shared the wisdom they've gained throughout their careers.

Procrastination is the enemy. I’ve witnessed the chaos it can cause to projects on multiple levels.

Alexander Bross Vice president, senior director of data engineering, Fifth Third

Networking for business

Networking requires more than just swapping business cards and adding people to your LinkedIn network. The connections you make with others and building a relationship are the most effective means of accomplishing this.

"Early in my career, I needed to appreciate the importance of mingling and introducing myself to people. It can be intimidating; however, it is essential to becoming integrated into the business community. For young professionals about to graduate, I encourage you to take a leap and introduce yourself. It helps if you consider that we have all been in that position and that many of us, as employers, want you to introduce yourselves." 

Christian Godale, Director, Life Sciences, CinyTech 

Networking suggestions

  • Send a thank you note immediately after you meet a new contact
  • Follow them on social media
  • Celebrate an achievement: If you see they were promoted to a new position, or are celebrating a work anniversary, send a personalized message
  • Get it on your calendar: Make plans to grab coffee, respect their timeframe and allow them to get to know you before asking for anything significant, such as a referral
  • Ask for their opinion: It is OK to ask their thoughts as you build the relationship; let them know you value their feedback. 

Avoid procrastination 

"Procrastination is the enemy. I’ve witnessed the chaos it can cause to projects on multiple levels. We have so many distractions to pull us away from what we're trying to accomplish these days. Getting started on a new project or completing action items related to an existing initiative can be overwhelming. That's why time management is so important. It's essential to overcoming this enemy."

Alexander Bross, Vice President, Senior Director of Data Engineering, Fifth Third

Guidelines to defeat procrastination

  • Eliminate distractions. Commit to a block of time to focus on the project and silence alerts on all devices
  • To lessen the pressure of the entire project, divide tasks into smaller, manageable chunks while allowing yourself time to stop after each task
  • Prioritize tasks and focus on the most important ones first
  • Set specific, measurable goals and deadlines
  • Use a timer or calendar to help stay on track
  • Reward yourself for completing tasks

Intentional communication

"Looking back on my career, I have learned that effective communication throughout an organization is essential for the success of any project. Being intentional about it helps to ensure that everyone involved in a project is on the same page. For example, whose recommendations will be implemented and any tasks that have been completed promptly and efficiently. Managing expectations includes sharing your department’s progress to avoid external assumptions."

Benjamin Jones, Manager, UC 1819 Ground Floor Makerspace

Effective communication tips

Good communication is an essential ingredient for success and is necessary for the overall well-being of any project. Stakeholder management helps manage expectations, keep them informed about the project's progress and address their concerns.

  • Build trust through clear and concise communication to ensure that everyone understands the project goals, objectives and tasks
  • Consistency: Send weekly updates. No more than one paragraph to keep stakeholders informed
  • Problem-solving: Good communication facilitates the identification and resolution of problems that may arise or delay a project
  • Accountability among team members ensures that everyone understands their roles, responsibilities and deadlines

1819 Innovation Hub

Learn more about corporate partnerships with UC's 1819 Innovation Hub or email.

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