April 25, 2015

Advice for Young Engineers

What would help you succeed in your career and life?

  • Seeing the big picture on projects.
  • Executing your tasks on time & budget.
  • Developing people skills.

Or you can destroy your career.

It is great you have a technical degree. But what will advance your career are people skills. Be 10-15 minutes early. Meet people and find out about them. Work with customers and co-workers on their (or your) bad days to still get things done. Try to understand what the customer and your management really needs.

Be disciplined at work. Show up, work urgently, make promises conservatively, deliver early, be human, take feedback and adjust.

Learning how to communicate, marketing, project management and problem solving skills are great investments. My best contributions have often been asking good questions, not having all the answers.

Understand finance and accounting. Decisions are made based on value.

Protect your career by continuously learning. Get a Master's degree at night. Especially if your company pays for it. If they don’t, get the Masters at the lowest cost possible. Who needs more student loans?

Live within your budget. There will be times you can’t find a project and will have to live off savings. 40 years of working for the same company does not always work out. Planned to stay in my hometown, but actually working in state #7. Savings also lets you buy houses and make investments to retire or start your own business.

Have a life outside of work. Volunteer, make friends, raise good kids, help others, and give back. This is why you work hard, and what you will value in life.

April 18, 2015

Better way to manage your teams - Ask Better Questions

Doug Krug (http://elsolutions.com/) is challenging my focus on problem solving. He teaches managers to Ask Better Questions.

1.     “What is working now?” “Where are we already getting the result(s) we want?”
2.     “What is causing the results we are getting?”
3.     Re-clarify the desired outcome with questions like, “What is the goal/objective we want to accomplish?”
4.     “What will be the benefit(s) when we achieve the goal or outcome?” Or, “What will be the cost if we don’t achieve our goal?”
5.     “What can we do more of, better or differently to get closer to the goal?”

Instead of starting with "What is the problem?", start positive and build on what already works. It focuses your team to build on strengths and look for more ideas to combine.

Results come much faster. 

April 11, 2015

How to Collaborate

First thing to do: Let the people know you are there to help, not to point fingers. 
(Focusing on processes is my viewpoint. People fail when not given the proper tools or training)

Ask questions and Listen thoroughly!!! The people working day to day are the best source of information. More viewpoints are better.

Define the purpose of the collaboration. So much time wasted with solutions for the wrong problem. A clearly defined purpose will lead to the right actions.

Come up with ideas, alternatives and combinations of steps. Root causes are usually the result of several factors, not just one. (Good ideas come from anywhere)

Decide on a plan to mitigate contributing factors and plan tests and monitoring to study the changes. Take actions with responsible people and deadlines. (Project management)

Follow up with all the people involved (Make sure they know their input and efforts are valued).

Review results looking for more improvements.

March 16, 2014

Discouragement and Encouragement

Discouragement is not always a bad thing. You don't waste time trying to be a professional basketball player if you don't shoot well for instance (hmmm resemble that).

Discouragement can get us to spend more effort proving ourselves. The effort it takes to be great is worth more than instant glory ever was.

However, you must find people who have struggled and succeeded. They will understand your pain, the struggle and tell you how they got past the trying times.

You would be surprised who tried to discourage me hunting for work, and how much belief in my gifts had to carry me. But it was not always enough.

However I was very discouraged one day, and in prayer got an answer "You are my good boy, and I have important work for you to do." came back to me. That was the best response I could have had.

So if you want to do God's work here today. Find someone to encourage. God bless.

March 1, 2014

Don’t Say You Can Do Anything

Advise for job hunters. Don’t say you can do anything. That is not true and will delay your finding your next job.  

Most people looking for jobs find accidental jobs. Hey that store is looking for grocery clerks. You could do that.

Not every job will fit you. I have a fear of heights. There is no way I would be a great roofer for instance. Being productive requires comfort at your work.

Instead look at your experiences. What are you good at? Even better, what are you great at? Think about your successes, and all the actions you took to contribute to your team.

Then break down the different skills you have from those experiences. Your old industry may be in the dumps, but almost every business needs those same skills your old job did.

Then start searching for new careers that need your talents. Many new jobs did not exist 5 or 10 years ago. Widen the scope of your search, but stay focused for a few positions.

Your career will go further if you use your best talents.