CADDManager on June 16th, 2008
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Thought Leadership

Continuing the flow of posts on Thought Leadership…

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We have covered the introduction of the topic and how some may want to gain voice in the industry that they are working or at the office/firm they are with. The reason for this is to gain some level of input into the conversations that surround CAD. The second of the series was speaking. By just raising your voice you start to become heard. Little by little, people start listening. That is, if you have something to say.

This post is about joining the conversations on CAD…

I think that in the beginning you just add your voice to the many other voices that are in the conversation. First – find the conversations. They are happening all around you. Just listen…

Conversations happen within your company about CAD issues all the time . CAD is one topics that every project has to deal with. CAD conversations happen every day. If you take the time to find them and join them, you will begin to have impact.

As I am walking around, I hear people talking about CAD issues or asking each other questions on CAD standards. I tend to listen for these things. There are buzzwords that my ears are tuned in on. CAD buzzwords. I just hear them. When they pop up in conversations – even several desks away, I hear them. Words like Layer, Standards, Plotting, LISP, etc. They may be people talking as the pass my office. Or people talking in the break room. I just hear them. I am not eavesdropping, I just hear them. When these words come up, I start to listen.

I listen from a distance and take stock of the persons demeanor and stance. Are they angry? confused? curious? These are signs that they are looking for answers. Most of the time when I overhear these words it ends up in a troubleshooting and support conversation. This is not really thought leadership. What does happen is that these conversations will turn sometimes to what a perfect CAD world should look like, or how we can improve things. This is the beginning of a thought leadership conversation.

I also look for crowds of people that I know are the adventurous CAD super users. When these people are together, or standing at someones desk for an extended time, I start to perk up. I may wonder over and join the conversation or just try to listen from a distance. Am I intruding? I hope not. I try to do it without being offensive or corrective. If I join a conversation and lay down some bottom line rule or end game comment, then yes, I have interrupted and disrupted their conversation. The conversation is still theirs in the beginning. You have to be invited in. If you have practiced how to join conversations, then this will be easier. If not, then you need to start working on your skills of joining existing conversations.

Assuming that you have joined and not offended, the next step is to add your opinion to the mix. You need to judge how the conversation is flowing. Conversation that are looking for answers need just that. They need you to provide answers or options. Conversation that are brainstorming, or just dreaming of a rosy future are areas that thought leadership opinions can be offered. Read the conversation before you join in. Another type of conversation is a complaint session. Your goal in those is to listen for the root of the problem and then steer it toward a positive outcome. What can be done to make things better.

If the conversation can be improved by adding some thought leadership then by all means toss your opinion into the mix.

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Series Navigation<< Becoming a Thought Leader – by SpeakingBecoming a Thought Leader – by Formal Speaking >>
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