We all want to be star engineers, right? Here's an intriguing article from about ten years ago engineers from top companies helped to dispel the myths about star performers and uncover the surprising secrets of stellar achievement for engineers.:
"In 1985, I was asked a series of questions, and have been tracking down their answers ever since. Bell Laboratories (then part of AT&T Corp. and now mostly belonging to Lucent Technologies Inc.) was perplexed. It hired the best and the brightest from the world's most prestigious universities, but only a few lived up to their apparent potential for brilliance. Most developed into solid performers of mostly average productivity who did not substantially further Bell Labs' contribution to AT&T's competitive advantage in the marketplace.
What the labs wanted to know was: what separates the star from the average performer? Is it innate or can star performance be learned? Could a program to improve productivity be designed that would help turn average performers into stars?" (from How To Be A Star Engineer)