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When your vision goes impaired

Posted by on 7:03 am in Leadership and Management | 0 comments

When your vision goes impaired

[A note from Pat: Today's post is a guest post from my friend and mentor, Christian Knutson. Chris is an expert in both engineering and leadership, with decades of experience in the military and as an entrepreneur. He's the author of www.engineerleader.com, an excellent read for anyone who reads this blog.] I’ve been thinking a lot the past year about the vision thing.  About what goes into finding it, getting it to sound just right, trying it on for size and making sure it fits.  I’ve read that I need a vision, I’ve heard...

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8 Things Organizational Theorists Wish Engineers Knew

Posted by on 7:22 pm in Productivity | 0 comments

8 Things Organizational Theorists Wish Engineers Knew

  A few semesters back, I took a course in organizational theory as part of my MBA studies. It was incredible. Its amazing how much you can learn about the way the world around you works when you understand how groups of people work. One of the more interesting people we studied was a man named Karl E. Weick, a professor of organizational theory and psychology at the University of Michigan. What caught my eye about Weick was a list of ten “pieces of advice” he had for managers, based on his years of research in organizational...

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The only thing you need to do today

Posted by on 7:20 am in Engineering Design | 0 comments

The only thing you need to do today

Go make some art. Do something bold, something important, something beyond what your job title says you should be doing. Something above your pay grade. Something more than what you boss expects of you. This is the only way to truly stand out in your career, and the only way to feel fulfilled by what you do. Far too many engineers are content to show up to the office, put in their time, and go home. Sure, they work during that time, but they never do anything that will truly make a difference to their colleagues or the world around them. As...

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Two “V” words to get awesome engineering designs

Posted by on 8:25 am in Engineering Design | 2 comments

Two “V” words to get awesome engineering designs

As engineers, we love to build things. Big things. Complicated things. New things. And, if we’re honest, we’re pretty good at it, aren’t we? There’s just one little problem – does anyone actually want what we’ve built? Maybe yes, maybe no. If yes, we’re golden. If no, we’re in big trouble. Let me explain. You see, engineers have this nasty habit of coming up with brilliant ideas. Not that there’s anything wrong with these ideas, but the fact that an engineer came up with them is cause for...

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Taking the FE Exam? Here Are 5 Mistakes You NEED To Avoid

Posted by on 10:15 pm in Professional Development | 0 comments

Taking the FE Exam? Here Are 5 Mistakes You NEED To Avoid

[Note from Pat: This is a guest post from a colleague of mine, Joel Erway. Joel is an expert in helping engineers pass their Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, a must-do if you want to become a professional engineer in the United States.] I have dealt with many engineers aspiring to obtain their Professional Engineering (PE) license. Everyone struggles along the way. Here are 5 common mistakes you need to avoid in your preparation. Also, if you’re interested in a new way to prepare for the FE exam, be sure to see the link at the end of...

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Excel Formulas – Engineering Haiku

Posted by on 9:33 pm in Engineering Haikus | 0 comments

Excel Formulas – Engineering Haiku

Hi everyone, It’s been quite a while since I wrote my first engineering haiku. It’s received some rave reviews, so here’s my next instalment. I call it “Excel Formulas”.   Excel formulas Like lines of poetry But more useful Tweet this! Original photo credit: Flickr/ Jim Makos   Free 90-Day Course and Career Guide Sign up below to enrol in my epic "90 Days to Becoming an Engineering Ninja" course for free and get my career guide "The 7 Disastrous Habits of Highly Ineffective...

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5 Things You Need to Do to Get a Management Position

Posted by on 12:10 pm in Leadership and Management | 0 comments

5 Things You Need to Do to Get a Management Position

[Note from Pat: Today's post is from Rebecca Martin on how to get a management position. She is the community outreach coordinator for the University of North Carolina’s MBA online program. Becca graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a B.A. in Business Administration and a concentration in marketing. An avid traveler and lover of all things tech, Becca spent a year abroad working for a technology company in the wine sector. Now, back in the USA, Becca spends her spare time visiting friends in other cities, volunteering, and...

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The Most Important Thing in Any Engineering Project

Posted by on 8:09 am in Engineering Design | 2 comments

The Most Important Thing in Any Engineering Project

In the world of engineering, most of us work in a “project environment”. That is to say, most of our work consists of a series of distinct, unique endeavours to accomplish some specific goal. That could be to design a new product or service, for example. This might not seem like much of a major observation, but it has important consequences. You see, there’s a distinct science to how projects are run and managed. In fact, there’s a whole profession dedicated to project management (see PMI.org). These folks exist...

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5 Reasons why Engineering Designs Fail

Posted by on 10:06 pm in Engineering Design | 2 comments

5 Reasons why Engineering Designs Fail

  As much as I hate to admit it, engineers are fallible (Gasp!). I know, I know, we spent years in school learning second order derivatives, every function possible in Excel, and have the Greek alphabet memorized. But still, it happens from time to time that we screw up as engineers. Sometimes, our designs just plain miss the mark. Today, I want to talk about five of the most common reasons that engineering designs fail. I’ve seen these mistakes time and time again in my career. If you can make an effort to avoid these mistakes, I...

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5 Ways Engineers can Handle Extreme Uncertainty

Posted by on 7:08 am in Leadership and Management, Productivity | 6 comments

5 Ways Engineers can Handle Extreme Uncertainty

Do you work in an environment with high levels of uncertainty? Uncertainty is characterized by high complexity (that is, many players or factors are at work) and high instability (things can change in a moment). If you have both complexity and instability, you have what’s called an uncertain environment. This is exactly the kind of environment I work in, and it can be brutally difficult to stay on top of things. I work in the rail industry. As you can imagine, building a new rail vehicle is a massive undertaking with 100’s of...

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