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CAD Manager Ė When things go wrong, who do you think about first?

When something happens at work that will impact your firm, or production or submittals or cad standards or anything related to CAD that may reflect a negative light, Who do you think about first?

Your answer to this question will have a lot to do with how others perceive you, how your company values you and how your users interact with you. 

Here are the answers that could be obtained when asking this question.  Who do I think about first?  Myself, the users, My job, the firm, the client

Letís investigate each of these one at a time to see how reach response reflects your character and focus.

I think about Myself

If I think about myself then it reflects that possible fact that I am mostly concerned about my ego, my image, my authority or the blame falling on me.  I observe many CAD Managers that try to shift the blame away from themselves and onto anything or anyone else.  They may blame the software or the hardware.  It may often be a software or hardware issue that causes the pain point, but it is your job to work through it toward an answer.  Donít seek to place blame on anything.  Seek instead to find the cause of the problem. 

This may seem like semantics, but placing blame differs from defining cause.  Placing blame usually has its roots in avoiding consequences, distancing yourself from the problem.  This is not good.  Finding the cause has its roots in beginning to fix the problem.  Once the cause has been discovered, the fix can be defined.  Once the cause had been uncovered, you can jump in directly to alleviate the trouble.  The only fingers that get pointed are pointing the initial failure that caused the difficulty, not at objects that help with avoidance.

People are quick to pick up on persons who constantly deflect any negative that may come their way.  Others begin to see that you do not really want to take responsibility for the overall CAD area and soon responsibility will not be offered.

This attitude also reflects a resistance to evaluate yourself and improve on your efforts.  By shifting blame, you may never really take the brunt of recurring problems and not see the need to change your approach to troubles.

I think about my Job

This is very similar to the answer above but differs in the way it projects to others.  Being worried about job security can cripple a progressive environment.  If you are always looking over your shoulder for the next lay off or others stepping into your area, then you will be skittish about moving forward. 

Shrinking back into the fortress to protect your job will cause two things to happen.  You will shift blame and you will not be dynamic in your application of technology.  We talked about shifting blame above, so letís dig into the dynamics of progress.

Technology progress happens when someone is brave enough to step out on the limb of new untested technology and discover the fruitfulness of their endeavor.  You may not be the type to live on the bleeding edge, but you need to be an early adopter.  Your firm may not want to be the first one down the gangplank, but the better be willing to at least tied up to the dock.  By being the second or third adopter, you can maintain a comfortable progression of software and hardware tools.  Sometimes the investment of the trail blazer pays off.  Most often those who follow quickly gain the most.  You should be a blend of the two.  Venture into uncharted waters on some issues and be adaptable and embrace the new in a timely fashion.

Those in fear of losing their job can often lag into complacency and fall behind the tech curve.  This may seem like comfortable environs, but soon or later all of the other firms will pass you by.  Then you could be in real danger of loosing your position because you failed to keep up.

There are many reasons that cause us to fall behind.  Budget cuts, workload slowdowns, stagnant users, etc.  Donít let your concern over loosing your job make you shy about moving forward.

I think about the Users

If you think about the Users first then you are on the right track.  Keeping the focus on your ďclientsĒ is sometimes tough.  Look at the issue from their perspective.  What is the impact on their timeline and progress?  Elevate the response to the needs of the users.  If there is a major roadblock preventing a submittal, get to work quickly.  Donít slow down until they are back at full steam. 

I think about my Company

An even better perspective.  Keep the overall good of the firm in mind at all times.  Think through the large items and have a long term view of short term headaches.  By taking a longer view you can balance the needs of right now against the greater needs of the long term.  You can balance the demands of one user or project or office against the overall demands of the firm.  Keeping a good balance is tough.  You will need to trade off some long term goals (like perfect CAD files) to gain short term progress (get the job out the door).

I think about our Clients

The most important perspective to have.  Know that the perspective of the client is the one that counts the most.  They pay the bills.  They keep the company workload high.  They pay the users paychecks.  They pay for the technology you use.  They secure your job by increased contracts.

If the clients start to feel that your not paying attention to them, they could go somewhere else.  Unless you are part of that special group that client clamber to work with (and not many of us are), then you will have to focus on client satisfaction.  They do not want to hear excuses, they do not want delays in the schedule and they do not want bad CAD files.