I am in the middle of my sixth season coaching a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. Each year has furthered my belief that FLL is valuable for all those that are involved. Recently, on December 5th, my team participated in the Cedar Falls Regional Qualifier.
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.
On Friday May 1, DISTek hosted about 50 junior high ALPHA (Talented & Gifted) students from Holmes and Peet Junior Highs in Cedar Falls. These students completed a 6-week unit in January and February on careers and were interested in engineering fields. The purpose of their visit to DISTek was to learn more about the various types of engineering.
The Cedar Falls Regional Qualifier for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and the Cedar Falls Regional Expo for Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL) took place recently at Peet Junior High. DISTek and its people are very active in supporting FIRST related teams. There were at least three DISTekians who served as coaches or mentors for FLL teams and one DISTekian who was the coach for a Jr. FLL team. DISTek was also a sponsor of multiple teams.
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”.
Recently I was provided the opportunity to work with someone who utilized Simulink to create plant models for our customer. My experience and knowledge about Simulink and modeling was non-existent. I have heard of Simulink and seen some models, but for the most part, I am Simulink illiterate. This made my initial conversations with my co-worker an endless session of learning. It was all new to me. Add into the equation that his goal was to create a plant model; I was even more overwhelmed – seemed like I was drinking from a fire hose.
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:
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:
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.
Sequence Control as defined in ISO 11783 – part 14 provides the ability for a tractor to record and perform a sequence of actions within either the tractor or its attached implements. The value to the operator is that he can activate a sequence of steps via one button press or action step. Usually, the sequence of steps would occur at the headland of the field. Besides simplifying the actions required of the operator at the headland and allowing the operator to concentrate on positioning the tractor and implement for another pass through the field, sequence control eliminates forgotten steps that can happen near the end of a long day in the field.