BloombergToday’s advice comes from David Nelms, CEO of Discover Financial Services at The Wall Street Journal:
“Before business school [at Harvard], I was at General Electric as a supervisor on an assembly line in the major-appliances division and factory-automation division. It was a union shop, and I had to learn to work well with people to have strong results. I had to really focus on and listen to people to gain credibility, because a lot of what you can accomplish is in their hands.”
Nelms says you shouldn’t brush off a mistake just because it was a small one. He warns that even the tiniest problems can have tremendous consequences somewhere down the line. You can learn from every error you make and the more time you spend trying to learn from those mistakes, the more productive you will become at work. The best employees are the ones who grow not just from their own mishaps, but from the mistakes of those around them. Build a support network with your colleagues so that you can help one another when things go awry.
“I was in charge of getting materials to the assembly line, and if you messed up, you could literally shut down the line. One time, I didn’t order the right set of screws. It was only because I was really nice and pleaded with them that I got past that. You really have to show people respect, because something as small as a screw can really mess your career up. On another assignment, I wanted to make fast changes. I learned that sometimes you have to pace the change a little and build support. You can get pushback if you try to make too many changes too quickly.”
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