CAD Manager's Newsletter (#385)14 Jun, 2017 By: Robert Green
Your senior management team can't give you the support you need unless they understand what you do. Here's how to make it clear — in their language.
I recently asked my Facebook group, CAD Managers Unite! what the most difficult part of being a CAD manager is. I then waited a few days while group members posted their problems and vented their emotions. As has been the case for many, many years, the number one source of frustration cited was senior management's lack of understanding. There were also several sub-issues mentioned which stem from the primary problem; more on those shortly.
What I've observed during my career is that senior management won't understand CAD management unless I teach them about it. In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some insights and strategies I've used during my career to cajole, educate, and energize senior management staffs into understanding more about CAD management. Here goes.
Why They Don't Get It
Q. Why doesn't senior management understand what you do?
A. Because you're doing such a good job that they don't have to!
There's an old saying that goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We could reword this for our senior managers by saying, "If they don't need to understand it, they won't spend the time to understand it." Simply put, our bosses don't understand what we do because they trust us to do the job and — unless we fail — everything works well, so they concentrate on other concerns.
Once we accept that senior management's understanding of our job will be nearly nil unless we act, we can start the gradual process of convincing them that they should care about what we do, and educating them about how it all works.
Why We Must Educate
Several of the sub-complaints I received about lack of senior management understanding revolve around the standards process — specifically, lack of enforcement. Statements such as, "Management lets our engineers violate the standards" or "Management doesn't get that standards are no good without enforcement" are the most common.
Q. Are the two statements above standards problems?
A. No, they are senior management problems!
In the examples I cited, the standards already exist, but are being undermined by senior management's casual attitude toward them. In my experience, it all comes down to the fact that senior management simply doesn't understand the value of standards, which begs this question:
Q. Who is going to educate senior management on the value of enforcing standards?
A. The CAD manager and nobody else!
The task now becomes helping your bosses see that standards are in their best interest and that they really should help you enforce them — which brings us neatly to our next topic. Read more »
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