BY KEVIN MOE
Barbara Mowry is the founder and CEO of the management consulting firm GoreCreek Advisors. Prior to this, she was senior vice president at Oracle, president and CEO of Silver Creek Systems, chairman and CEO of Requisite Technology, senior vice president of customer satisfaction at Comcast, founder and CEO of the Mowry Company, and a vice president of United Airlines. She also is the chairwoman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve and a member of the Carlson School’s Board of Overseers. Here she shares five of the most important skills she has found that lead to career success.
1. Integrity and culture of an organization are critical to your success
Having a reputation of strong ethical behavior and always doing what you say you will do will influence those around you and ultimately, your organization. Great teams build great companies, and culture matters in developing great teams.
2. Learn to focus—which means learning when to say no
You can’t do everything, so figuring out how to prioritize your tasks is an invaluable skill to have. Learning how to say no is really hard, but it will help you focus on the important matters.
3. Develop great listening skills, especially when it comes to your customers and employees
In conversations, most people spend more time focusing on how they will respond versus really listening to the other person. Instead, if you are a great listener and good at follow-up, you will distinguish yourself with your employees and customers.
4. If you aren’t having fun and aren’t happy where you are, then there are plenty of other things to do—don’t settle
When your job becomes work rather than something you look forward to, then perhaps it is time to think about what is most important to you. Granted, there are always days or periods of frustration, but if they are always there, and if your instincts tell you that you are in the wrong place, it is probably time to move on.
5. Continuous learning throughout your career is a skill that matters
If you are a Carlson School alum, your education taught you how to learn. That is a skill you will need your whole life. As the world changes at a faster pace year after year and with the increasing demand for innovation, there is a wide-open market for leaders who value continuous learning.