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CAD Leadership - Part 1

Management is not necessarily leadership. The two are not identical. Princeton University WordNet defines a manager as "someone who controls resources and expenditures". It is the person who takes what is provided and does the best job possible with the tools at hand. They go on to define a leader as "a person who rules or guides or inspires others". What we need are more CAD Leaders! Leaders think long range. Leaders understand the needs of the company and how they fit in. Leaders know where to go next. Leaders do not make others fit into their mold.

Your ability to Lead will impact several areas for which you company can profit if you take the reigns and make things happen.

1. Productivity levels
As you lead the charge to greater productivity, it will be your insight into areas that could easily be automated or eliminated. Quite often the front line users do not have the perspective that you have since they are focused intently on the job at hand. They may know of the repetitive nature of some of their work, but do not realize that everyone can benefit from automating a task.

2. Adherence to your CAD Standard
No one is going to know what is in the CAD Standard or why they need to follow it. This may seem like a management topic, but it involves leadership to coerce, cajole, encourage, remind, refine, and explain the standard. The leadership comes in constantly reviewing the "why" of the standard. Most users do not mind following a standard. In the absence of a standard, most users will make up their own. Your job as leader is to map out a path, point the troops in the right direction and check the compass to make course corrections.

3. Advancement of Technology
No one knows the pulse of the production floor like the CAD Manager. They know from day top day where the bottlenecks are and what tools may get them through the rough spots. By keeping upper management informed of what the next software tool should be, they can make sure that the wish list is always up to date and ready to put into place.

4. Saving Money
By actively keeping the direct negotiations with vendors at the forefront, the CAD Leader can save untold amounts of money by seeking lower pricing, garnering NFR software, free demos, training material, free seminars, etc.

Mark W. Kiker

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