CAD Manager's Newsletter (#440)25 Feb, 2020 By: Cadalyst Staff
CAD Management 3.0 Calls for Quadrilingual Translation Skills
As a CAD manager, you likely wear a lot of hats — and now, being an effective communicator requires that you speak a lot of "languages" as well.
One of the greatest compliments I have ever received as a CAD manager was my gruff old boss Kurt saying, "For a computer guy, you speak English!" Though I didn't realize how great a compliment it was at that moment, I came to realize that one of my key functions was explaining computer stuff to a senior management staff that had no interest in understanding it. Soon after Kurt made his statement, I started calling myself a technology translator — a description I use to this day.
In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share my belief that in the age of CAD Management 3.0, we're becoming quadrilingual technology translators. I'll strive to explain the four languages we must speak, and give you some practical communication tips for each as we go along. Here goes.
The Languages Defined
To be effective in today's CAD management environment, I've found myself needing speak the following four languages:
|1.||CAD workflow — discussing how the software works to support your particular environment.|
|2.||CAD budget — explaining why things cost what they do.|
|3.||IT — relating the complexity of getting things working on networks and the cloud.|
|4.||Return on investment (ROI) — defining why certain decisions make sense financially.|
You might read this list and think, "'Languages?' Really?" Well, yes. It's all about speaking the native language of the person you're talking to. Talk about CAD with another CAD person, and you'll speak in CAD language; talk to an accountant about CAD, and you'll speak either CAD budget or ROI; talk CAD to an IT staffer, and you'll speak IT. In each case, using a language the other person can clearly understand is essential for a productive conversation — otherwise, the two of you may as well be speaking Swahili and Spanish, or Finnish and French.
Complicating things further is that I must translate all these concepts up the ladder to people like CFOs, engineering managers, and project managers. So if I need to tell an accountant why I need more budget for a cloud software product, I had better convert the IT language to budget language first. See what I mean?
Hopefully you're starting to buy into this idea, because next we will define communication tips and strategies for each language.
CAD Workflow Language
I find that speaking CAD workflow is the best way to communicate with power users and those few managers who really understand CAD tools. This language is a higher-level dialect of the CAD technical language family, as we don't just talk about how a given command works, but also about the best circumstances in which to use the command — particularly to save time.
By speaking CAD workflow, you'll find conversations move toward actions, standards, and best practices almost automatically. I mean, if you're talking about the best way to use CAD tools, it stands to reason you're going to discover better CAD workflows and want to make those workflows standard.
And the best part of speaking CAD workflow is that you never have to say, "Use the CAD tools this way because I say so!" Instead, you're having a consensus-based conversation around the most efficient way to use CAD tools. Along the way, you'll surely find that time savings (which translate into cost savings) can be obtained simply by using better workflows, and word savings will be magic when we get to the ROI section a bit later.
Bonus: Speaking CAD workflow is especially useful for CAD managers who must standardize their environments via consensus rather than absolute authority. Read more »
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