Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dear Lazy Drafter #1 - Dueling Drafters

I had an epiphany the other day. I often get asked for CAD advice and what better way to share the wisdom of my advanced years than to throw out my shingle as the Dear Abbie of the CAD World. Then again, I often have stupid ideas too. Oh well, only one way to find out. Below is the first installment of Dear Lazy Drafter. I’ll do my best to give good advice and let’s see if this works or blows up in my face. Either way, it should make interesting reading. If you are seeking CAD advice, and don't care who you get it from, drop me a line at I'll do my best not to make you feel worse.

Dear Lazy Drafter,

I am a CAD Manager, and I have 2 highly capable drafters that just can't seem to get along. Every chance they get they stab each other in the back, or report minor drafting standards violations on each other. In our office the drafters are supposed to work together on projects, but when I have a job that I need these two to work together on, no one will do it because we know it will end in a bad way. Apart they are the two best drafters I have, together they are a disaster that kills moral and slows down important projects. Can you help me?

                                                                                            Desperate CAD-dergarden Manager

Dear Desperate CAD-dergarden Manager,

Sounds like like a personal problem to me, my people all love each other. 

Alright, I'm kidding. Where ever people get together they will have agreements and disagreements, every manager deals with this same problem you are having. The bad news is you can't make anyone like anyone else, but the good news is there are things you can try. Maybe all of these will help, but probably not all at once, so pick and choose what you think will be most effective.

  1. Sit them next to each other. It sounds crazy, but they will have a much more difficult time bad mouthing each other when they are constantly in ear shot. Being close together will also give them opportunities to discover when they do agree.
  2. In concert with #1, ask the two of them to help you with something that none of the other drafters are qualified to do. Not regular work, but a special project that they will find challenging, force them to find common ground, and free up more of your time.  
  3. Don't ignore the issue. Meet with them together and get it out in the open. Allow them limited time to air their thoughts in the most constructive way possible, then explain how their behavior is affecting moral and projects. 
  4. In no uncertain terms, tell them that it can not continue. Let them know they are skilled, valuable employees, but their feud is a cancer and sooner or latter, measures will have to be taken to deal with it.
  5. Check in often, individually, after taking any steps and make course corrections to best deal with the evolving situation.
Chances are, good respectable people can get along with a little encouragement. If on the other hand they show that they can not, your firm is better off without either one.
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