DISTek U210: Part 1

Learn with DISTek U210

DISTek U210: E2 Track is a new DISTek course offered internally to engineers wanting to learn and prepare themselves for the next engineering tier level. We use a classification of E1-E5 here at DISTek with E1 being entry level. Although, it is mostly geared towards E2s looking to set themselves up for success in becoming an E3 or senior engineer, the track also welcomes E1s wanting to learn about E2. In this class, we went over three books, had a panel discussion with senior engineers, and a mentorship project managed by the students in the class. This course also offered the benefit of networking and interacting with other DISTekians who we may not normally get the chance to work with.

In this two part series, we will talk about each of the books and the mentorship program, with the first two books being discussed by Gerardo Zamora and Chad Stapes here in Part 1, and a final book and mentorshiop being discussed by Michael Barnhardt in Part 2.

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Book Report: Getting Things Done by David Allen

David Allen
Getting Things Done by David Allen.

While reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done, I connected the ideas that Allen suggests for time allocation to that of a real-time operating system with which I am familiar. Upon further thought, I wondered if there is a way to act more deterministic and accomplish tasks at higher efficiency, similar to how a microprocessor performs within a real-time operating system.

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Implementing the Fred Factor

The first Ken Baxter Award is presented
The first Ken Baxter Award is presented

In a previous blog entry, I provided a book report on The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. I discussed how people can make a positive difference in how they go about their lives, turning something ordinary into the extraordinary. I also shared Sanborn’s acronym FRED to explain how to develop “Freds”.

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Book Report: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Who wouldn’t like a 4-hour workweek? Sounds appealing to me. From reading the cover, I thought there had to be some gimmick. There are many products advertising something too good to be true and I thought that this book would be one of them. Judging this book by its cover would have been a mistake.

This book provides ideas on how a person can spend less time working, but still accomplish their goals. I feel the book is better suited for a reader who is or wants to be an entrepreneur but also offers valuable ideas to those who don’t work for themselves. The key points I took note of include:

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Book Report: You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Mark Sanborn

Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Before reading this book, I had the belief that everyone can be a leader and that in every role within an organization, leadership skills can be demonstrated and can add value. When I first saw this book title, I was intrigued if the book would substantiate my belief. It did and more.

What is leadership? Mark Sanborn states leadership is influence. He lists six principles of leadership, which are:

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Book Report: How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins

Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I have been a fan of Jim Collins since reading Built to Last while pursing my MBA. Jim Collins and his co-authors have been exploring what makes a great company that can persist over time. I most recently read How the Mighty Fall. In this book Collins discusses how what was viewed as a great company can fall to non-existence, or at a minimum, a shell of their former selves. This book especially was of interest given that I formerly worked at Motorola and Collins discussed some of the key mistakes made while I worked there that led to the fall of Motorola.

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Book Report: The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn

Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
Photo: © Judex | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Has someone ever exceeded your expectations through their actions? How did that make you feel? Was it contagious?

Mark Sanborn’s book The Fred Factor showcases how Fred the postal carrier went above and beyond the expected in delivering mail. Delivering mail is simple and monotonous, the same day in and day out. However, the way Fred performed his tasks was anything but ordinary. According to Sanborn, if Fred can deliver mail and catch the attention, in a very positive manner, of those he serves, any person can perform their role in what they do for a living in a better way.

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