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New Position? - Hit the Ground Running

Most companies now expect new employees to hit the ground running.  CAD Users are expected to know the software and get up to speed on the company standard quickly.

CAD Managers are also expected to make an impact quickly.  If you are recently promoted to CAD Manager, hired into a new firm or just happen to become the CAD Manager without the title, there are a few things you can keep in mind as you decide where to start and what to do next.

Here are the top ten things I think every new CAD Manager should do.  It is understood that you were offered the position because there is a need for someone to make things better.

Within the first 100 days:

1.  Review the CAD Standard to see if it is still up to date.  Most firms create it and forget it.  You should make some well needed changes that are appropriate.

2.  Get a complete list of CAD software licenses and make sure that you are totally legal in your seat count.

3.  Have a conversation with all of the management level people you can about what they think you need to do.  

4.  Shoot for a quick success.  Get involved with a project that needs help.  Iron out a tough spot in production. Look for the pain points that are not that difficult to fix. Make adjustments and get small wins.

5.  Spend some money quick.  This will let you know if the company is behind you.  "Show me the money" works to display the companies confidence in your leadership ability.  Make sure that is is money well spent and a small amount.  Make is a wise choice to show that you can handle bigger amounts.

6.  Have private conversations with all of your staff (if you have any) or with the key CAD Users in the firm.  Get input and goals and ideas.  Find out what is working and what is not.

7.  Don't wait for permission to change something small.  This will test your authority level in the company.  Make it large enough to make an impact but not so large that you get get major pushback if you overstep your bounds.

8.  Take note of what people complain about.  Fix whatever you can.  Take notes on what people want related to software and hardware.  See if you can purchase some of the small tools that they need.

9. Compliment whenever you can.  Don't just think that anything that was there before you came is wrong.  Look around and listen as other explain how things work and let them know that they made correct choices.  Give them credit for the successes of the past.

10.  Focus on plotting - get it perfect.  There is no better place to make major points than to work the kinks out of plotting.