Friday, December 15, 2006
Up the Chain It Goes...
Here is an excerpt of something I sent up the LANL management chain recently. Surprisingly, I noticed some immediate (positive) response in an all-managers meeting the very next day. However, I have not seen any follow-through.
At LANL, the events of the last few years, and the events unfolding today, have led to seriously damaged trust: between the workforce and management; between the Lab and its stakeholders (NNSA, the Congress, the public, the media).
The current climate of distrust leads to an assumption of secret agendas, cover ups & ill will, when in reality these are likely not to be the case.
Since the majority of LANL staff is already wary about giving trust to “untried” or unfamiliar managers, and perhaps even less so to “carry overs,” it becomes imperative that the LANL management team to demonstrate trustworthiness and thereby earn the trust.
Things for us all to keep in mind:
1) Be bold, but also be open.
a) Mistakes will occur; admit them and if necessary correct them and apologize to those wronged (if any).
b) Have a reason for action and be prepared to share it.
2) Ask for trust; but be prepared to trust back.
a) Repeat often that you trust and rely upon your subordinates and colleagues.
3) “Walk the talk”
a) Behave ethically and how you want other to behave.
b) The rules apply to managers first, not just “too”.
c) Expect ethical and civil behavior and behave that way yourself.
4) “Talk the walk”
a) Say what you want and expect, clearly and concisely.
b) Measure progress by establishing objectives and goals.
Some LANL-Management Specific Recommendations
1) Expect that some of your decisions will turn out to have been less than ideal
a) Correct them promptly and make sure that the reasons for corrections are know to the extent allowed
b) Corrections may include replacing people, additional training, revised policy, coalescing or splitting of organizational units
2) Learn from the Past
a) Science and National Security are the primary reasons (missions) this lab exists
b) This means that the portions of the lab that do science and NS missions are the fundamental elements
c) All other elements of the lab organization are here to serve and support these fundamental elements
3) Deal with Internal Conflict
a) When conflicts arise between lab units, keep in mind the fundamental missions.
b) If conflicts arise between mission and support/service functions, err on the side of accomplishing the missions rather than compliance. This is known as Taking Risk.
I'm sure the LANS Bechtel managers got all warm and moist upon reading that wonderful bit of God Mother and Apple Pie rhetoric.
Face it ladies and germs: LANL is run by a corporation now. The bottom line is profit, not warm fuzzies. World class science? Who gives shit? Making money is what its all about now. Why do you think LANS is so hot to turn LANL into a plutonium production facility? Because it's higher profit margin work than coddling a bunch of "world class" scientists doing whatever it is they want to do. As an earlier poster indicated, LANS would love to unburden themselves of as many of those non-productive, expensive, high-maintenance scientists as they can. More profit that way.
Go ahead and preach workplace etiquette to the new contractor if that makes you feel better. LANS will be laughing at your efforts all the way to the bank.
"Get out of my way, peasant dog!"