Archive for Management

What is Change?


Image courtesy of WIKIMEDIA Commons

Starting with this post I am going to discuss the various aspects of change and will be spreading them out over additional posts to keep them from getting too long.  These posts will include the What, the Why, and the How of Change.   I will use some examples in each area to make it a bit more real and not just theoretical.

Starting out – “What is change?” – Depending on who you talk to and their specific experience with change, you may get various answers.  Most will give simple definitions or interpretations of what change ‘means’ (feels) to them.

  • Change sucks
  • Change is hard/difficult
  • Change is disruptive
  • Change is important
  • Change is good
  • Change is necessary
  • Change is progress

Let’s look at some of’s definition examples:

1.   to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone:  to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history.

2.   to transform or convert

Whereas people usually define what they feel about change, the dictionary examples above show the verb (action) tense of change.  The feelings about change will typically match up with the actions of change, with each feeling being dependent on how the change was implemented or performed.  In each of our personal and business worlds, change is never as simple as a single action or task, it is a series of steps that we take to achieve a purpose.  Changing how we feel about ourselves or others, changing how we maintain our health and fitness, changing how we treat our clients, employees or co-workers, etc… does not happen in a single action.  Change requires multiple actions and mental exercises with the manner in which you do them typically determining success or failure.  And what this all means, is that ‘Change is a process’.

When you are thinking about making a change with anything you do, whether it be at work or home, the most important thing to understand is that change is not an event or an action – it is a process.  Ok – you may be thinking that this is a simple concept, ‘so what’s the big deal?’  Many individuals and companies still treat change as a task – one that needs little planning – just action.  When change is treated in this manner, no matter what it is – health, finances, bad habits, etc.. without a plan, without really understanding what you are trying to fix, without weighing the  pros and cons of your actions, and without considering the people who will be affected by your actions – it will fail.   After all, most changes are not instigated by a single event or person – they typically happen after experiencing issues, frustrations or complaints over an extended period of time.

Changes typically happen for us when we are fed up with how things are or have been and we just know ‘something has to change!’   Many will see people issues and process inefficiencies as just inconveniences that can be ignored and hope that they will just fix themselves, while others just assume that the work required to change something is not worth the potential results – so why bother?    For some, the concept of a change, even when it is obviously required scares them and they just give up before they even start.  More often than not though these procrastinators and resistors to change will come back to the same conclusion – something has to change!

This final desperate realization that things have to change is many times strong enough to be a catalyst for implementing new ideas or practices.  Sometimes though it comes so late in the game that in desperation, changes get implemented with little thought or planning.  In the business world these situations occur when leaders, managers or business owners realize that something just isn’t right or there are issues that they do not fully understand but know cannot continue.  Exasperated, they decide that “some changes need to be made” and “they need to be made now”.   With little thought and planning they charge in and make blanket changes that they think are going to turn things around!  Typically though, due to their lack of planning and thoughtful consideration they attempt to fix things from ‘their’ viewpoint and this often makes the situation or issue worse than when they started – this is a change failure.

Change fails for two primary reasons, the first is that change is not treated as a process and implemented in a proper manner and the second is people’s natural resistance to change.  This resistance to change usually comes from fear of the unknown or past bad experiences with other change failures.  In my next post I will address change implementation with some examples and in follow-up post I will discuss overcoming resistance to change.


AU 2011 Wrap-up

Day 3, the final day was more of the same; food, classes and walking.  Thursday was a special day – there was free Haagen-daz Ice cream (I had 2).

Sessions for me Thursday included more Revit MEP stuff, CADD management and office politics and using an IPad for doing CA work.

Overall impression of AU 2011:

Classes were numerous, I missed a few that were full.  The majority of classes that I did attend had great content and I did not hear anyone complaining.

Staff – lots of helpers all pretty friendly.

Expo was pretty good, mix of vendors, I only visited about half a dozen.

Food was plentiful at the expo and between classes.  With the exception of the the Thursday breakfast, all the meals were very filling and had a variety of choices.

Hotel – The hotel rooms were very nice, but getting around the hotel was a bit confusing because of how it was laid out. The first night was  bit frustrating trying to find the registration area.  Wireless was crazy expensive, so I staid away from that.

Future Attendees:
Some recommendations for those that may be planning to come next year:

– Pedometer (you’ll be amazed how much walking you’ll do)
– Comfortable shoes (see above)
– Portable charger(s) – batteries ran dead pretty quick in searching for signals for regular and wireless signals and there was a fair amount of available outlets.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to go again next year.

I will kick things off with a post that is near and dear to me – especially at the present time, as I am dealing with this issue every day. This post may seem out of character for many that are unfamiliar with AutoCAD, but it really falls in line with the premise of this blog – “There are better ways of doing things”… (and often, it is just doing things right from the beginning). This will be the first in a series on AutoCAD basics and some rules and guidelines to follow that will make the process of working with AutoCAD more efficient for editing and updating for all users (editing and updating are two distinct processes for this series).

I know and have a lot of respect for many professionals in the engineering and architectural world that work with AutoCAD everyday and most of those that don’t are using Revit. I have been using AutoCAD since version 3.? (it’s been awhile – 1984) and have used almost every version over the years. It continues to amaze and sometimes frustrate me how so many people that are professional architects, engineers, designers and especially the daily CADD drafter, still mis-use or (mis-understand) the product. By mis-use, I mean they have still not learned, refused to learn or just don’t care about some basic concepts. Taking the more positive approach, I think that many believe they know enough to do their job and do not have the time or energy to invest in additional learning. Well I am going to make it easy for those who are at least interested in stepping up their efficiency and the quality of what they produce. I will be spreading out over multiple posts some critical basics for AutoCAD use that can be taken in pretty quickly and put in to practice right away.

Below are the topics I will be covering, Future posts will dive in to more detail.

  • Layer Usage:  General Efficient usage and standards. Layers offer lots of control if used properly.
  • Layer 0:  This is a crucial layer that should never be frozen, or modified.
  • Layer Defpoints:  This is another crucial layer that should never be frozen, or modified.
  • Blocks:  Do NOT explode, and use more in lieu of copying around line work.
    • Creation:
    • Usage:
  • Lines and Polylines:  When to use one or the other. editing, joining, etc…
  • Standard Styles:
    • Don’t use them!  This covers the built-in AutoCAD styles for dimensions and text which are basically “samples” to go by or at best starters, but your not supposed to use them as YOUR standard.  It creates issues for you and others.
  • Text Usage:
    • Alignment – There are more options than “Top-Left”.
    • Styles – Remember to not use the “Standard” styles – make a company standard.
    • Size – It does really matter.

In the future posts, we will get in to how to use the above, the why and the importance of the why.  If you want to control efficiency and quality, it is important to get it right.