CADDManager on May 3rd, 2006

I wanted to continue the conversation about working with your Best Users. They are an invaluable cog in the wheels of your firm. By keeping them involved, you gain not only their input and expertise, but also their loyalty. They typically are highly motivated anyway, but small amounts of input and focus will allow you to reap great gains.

First off – your Best User may not be high in the pecking order of the firm. The best users an not necessarily the best in design or engineering. They may not carry a lot of weight in managing projects or working with clients. But they can crank on the software tools that they have.

Here is a short list of how to keep them on your team.

1. Feed them new tools. They soak it up and want to take in more. Keep them looking into new things that come your way. Each new release goes to them first to try out. All of the little utilities that you buy, let them try it first. Put them at the front of the line.

2. Have the research a new feature. Ask them to look into some area of the software that you are under using. Have them come back to you with their findings. If they like the tool, roll it out to others.

3. Give them a chance to go to outside events (like CAD Camp).

4. Bring them into conversations with vendors. Have them look at demos. Let them have input into your process.

5. Bounce ideas off them. I like to stop in the middle of the day to have short (5-10 minutes) chats about software and standards and methods, or whatever. Having them provide input keeps them on their toes.

6. Have the read articles that you copy out of magazines and provide their thoughts.

7. Have them be part of the training process. Get them to participate in training others. Passing on what they know. It will make them feel valued (and they are).

By engaging them in the process, decisions and flow of CAD you maximize their “belonging” at your firm and involved in your progress. It is a Win-Win.

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