Meet Your Managers' Expectations26 Jun, 2013 By: Robert Green
Upper management wants certain things from you as a CAD manager. Do you know what they are?
Expectation: Motivate and Develop Staff
CAD managers are in the position to influence every CAD user in a company on a near-daily basis. And whether or not you are a particular user's boss, you can still make him or her into a better CAD user and employee. Senior management knows this and wants to see you take action. Here are my best tips to help you interact with all staff members, subordinate and otherwise:
Motivate: When you promote new CAD tools and techniques, use phrases such as "we can do this better" or "let's save some time." Motivation is about making the user want to improve, so set the stage by challenging users to become ever more efficient and they will strive to do so.
Train: To the extent that getting users to do CAD better requires training, you'll need to provide it. If this means building a targeted training program, then so be it. If certain users need to be mentored in job-specific techniques, then that's what you'll need to do. Always strive to support users in their quest to be more efficient by supporting user motivation with training.
Note problems: As you interact with your users, note what causes them problems and work to eliminate those problems. When users see you as a CAD advocate who helps them perform better, they'll be more inclined to listen to you.
Keep it rolling: By motivating, training, and removing problems, you'll create the CAD equivalent of a snowball rolling downhill: Your users' efficiency and productivity will become greater and greater. So keep at it — your efforts will pay off!
Expectation: Stay Focused on Business
Does your company employ you because they think CAD is really cool and they want you to play with lots of neat software, or do they want you to make CAD run well so the company can make money?
You know the answer, of course. But it is amazing how many CAD managers never think about the business aspect of what they do.
The best thing you can do to remain business-focused is to use the mindset I advocated above for staff motivation and development. Always strive to make things easier, faster, and more efficient. If you make CAD a time-saving tool, everybody — users and management alike — will see you as a time- and money-saving machine. And that can't be bad!
If you handle your CAD management job using the recommendations I've made above, I promise you that your senior management team will see you as a valuable asset who is helping the company achieve great things. While they may never understand the technical issues you face with print drivers, PDF utilities, DWG exports from Revit, or importing STEP geometry into Solidworks, they will know that you're a communicative, action-oriented manager who's helping get the very best performance from their users.
Do you have any other tips for meeting the expectations of your senior management teams? If so, please e-mail me; I'd love to hear from you. Until next time.
Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!