Tackle the Status Quo in Your Workplace12 Dec, 2012 By: Robert Green
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Change is scary, even when there's a good reason for it. To ease the transition to new methods, demonstrate how they'll save time and increase efficiency.
We've all heard this conversation in our office at one point or another:
CAD manager: "Why are we doing this?"
CAD user: "I don't know; we've just always done things this way."
As one of my students once told me, that's not a reason, that's an excuse! It's an excuse to avoid putting in the effort required to make things better.
So how can CAD managers battle the status quo mindset? Here are a few methods that have always worked for me:
- Point out wasted time. If we could alter our processes to streamline our work, reduce needless steps, and get things moving, wouldn't it make sense to do so?
- Ruthlessly attack rework. Rework means extra man-hours to fix problems, and those extra hours cost money, right? The follow-up question would be, Why are we continuing to use processes that lead to rework?
- Advocate for efficiency. If you want to change the status quo, you need a reason to do so. Making things faster, less costly, and more efficient are great reasons. "Because I said so" is a poor reason, and one that will undoubtedly result in resistance from users.
- Make change less threatening. Show me somebody who hides behind the "We've always done it that way" credo, and I'll show you somebody who's afraid to learn new methods! Show these people how new methods work, and demonstrate their benefits. As you do so, don't judge and don't belittle — just teach. Until people want to learn, they won't.
Now start talking about saving time, cutting rework, and becoming more efficient, while constantly illustrating that change doesn't have to be that hard. Adopt these attitudes and management will perceive that you're improving their business, while users will see you as an advocate for upgrading their skills. It’s a win–win–win situation!
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