Because Nobody but You Can Do It
Because you are the only CAD manager — and because most senior management staff don’t understand what you do — there’s nobody else who can report on your status. This leaves you with two choices: Either report what you do to your management teams or allow them to form their own opinions based on what they hear from others. The first choice yields an informed management team while the second choice concedes that management won’t understand what you do and relies on the office rumor mill.
What are the dangers of management not understanding you? Here are a few:
They will think CAD management is easy. When people don’t understand what you do, they almost always underestimate how hard your job is. And, when users or management think your job is easy, they’ll try to load more tasks on you and thus reduce your effectiveness even more.
They will think CAD management is only a software issue. If management thinks your job is only about software, they clearly don’t know how many training, support, and standards issues you deal with.
They will not understand upcoming dangers. Let’s say your company has put off replacing an old cranky plotter or CAD server, but you never communicated that your team needs this new equipment. If disaster strikes, then your management may wonder why you never told them about the problem, making it look like you have not planned for it.
They will continue to think CAD management is “overhead.” By not telling management everything you deal with, they will think CAD management is just overhead and may start to question if CAD management is even needed. And, when senior management questions if they even need you, then your position in the company is far from secure.
If allowed to persist, these impressions will combine to create an inaccurate impression about CAD management in general and you in particular.
Regular Reporting is the Answer
So, how do you get management to understand your situation and value you more? Tell them what you’re doing via reports that are targeted at an executive management audience! The key characteristics of these targeted reports include the following:
Brevity. Senior managers are in a hurry and don’t want to read long reports.
History. Communicate what you’ve done via a task log.
Forecasts. Communicate what you’re planning to do via objectives.
Project support. Outline how much you do to make sure projects go out correctly and on time.
Your goal in this report is to paint a clear picture of what being the CAD manager is all about. By detailing all of the jobs you accomplish, such as the responsibilities you have, objectives for improving the company, and resources you need, you’ll be viewed as “in charge” and “more managerial” which will resonate with your senior management staff.
And, at the risk of repeating this once too often: If you don’t report to senior management, nobody else will. Without proper reporting, management will simply continue to not understand you.