Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Be Careful What you Wish For

From Anonymous:

To all those advocating the removal of Director Pete Nanos, be careful
what you wish for.

Take a long, hard, penetrating look at the list of potential
candidates from which (at least an Acting) Director would likely be
drawn. The list would no doubt include the two Deputy Lab Directors
and the eight ADs. This is the senior management team assembled and
embraced by the Director.

In working your way through this list of candidates, think of your
answers to the following. Does the Director strike you as the kind of
person that would assemble a team that would do anything other than
take orders without question? Do you think any one of these candidates
possesses the courage to say anything but "Yes Pete:to the
Director? Do you think any of them fearless enough to tell Pete
anything they think he does not want to hear? Do you believe there is
a selfless, independent thinker with a backbone capable of leading the
Laboratory among them? In other words, is the potential remedy better,
or worse, than the condition from which many seek relief?

Hard to imagine how any of those people could be worse. Close, maybe, but worse? Nope, not even the worst of them.
Perhaps you have a point but none of these other folks have smeared the whole lab, tanked the value of our housing, crushed morale, ...
When I came back a couple of years ago, I got to hear tons of people here say that there was a lot of things that needed to be cleaned up in safety and security, that there were cowboys that were ruining things for us, and that the only way to clean it up would be a complete shutdown and focus on getting that out of the way. Well it happened and a lot of them are saying 'how crappy the world is here at LANL now'.

We get paid a lot more money than average for the amount of stuff we produce. Yes there are some people who get paid more in industry.. but that is not the standard and the hours you put in for that are a lot more than 9/80.

I dont think the Director did everything 100% correctly.. (or even 66% but who bats over .400 consistently) but I do think that he is a human being. I think that a lot of the detractors here and elsewhere have forgotten that... or maybe its just easier to armchair quarterback than actually do real work.

It definately is easier to write quick blog comments like I just did than really trying to fix things.
A new Director does not need to come from the current management team. They ALL need to go!
It may well be true that those immediately surrounding Nanos are simply a bunch of brown-nosers, and might be just as bad as Nanos as Director. It is not at all clear that such folks would become Director if Nanos got canned, however. There are surely lots of other candidates other than those currently in Laboratory upper management. It doesn't seem likely that we would get as big a dimwit as Pete, but of course it's possible.

What we really have to hope for is that whoever it may be, that person NOT come from the Navy.
UC knows what happened. They're in the bottomline business so another director the caliber of Mr. Nanos will not be allowed. How to cleanly get rid of the guy is the real challenge they face.
And who from UC will be involved in the decision to pick a new Director? UC VP Robert Foley, another retired Navy Admiral?
No Navy
Rocky Flats II.
Stay tuned.

No more Navy.
As a retired military officer and manager at LANL, I am personally embarassed by the inept leadership coming from the Director. While his leadership style may work in the middle of the ocean with the UCMJ at his disposal, it is inappropriate (even destructive) to apply to thinking people on land with lots of options. Sadly, the caliber of the rest of the Senior Executive Team is low leading to a complete lack of direction for LANL. I have never seen such a high concentration of senior managers so willfully insulated from the real world any where or at any time. My only hope is that UC will not get the contract and new management will take over the Lab. This will be a difficult place to unscrew and will take enlightened management to do it.
Very few of the comments above on this topic strike me as "enlightened." Go back and re-read the comment from the person who observed two years ago what folks were saying and what they are saying now. It's true.

And as for being in touch with the real world, I came here two years ago from the corporate world of a major metropolian city. Nanos is more on the mark than most of you folks seem to be able to see. Perhaps this blindness is because you are all so pre-occupied with yourselves and your inflated real estate values?

Nanos is no more a dim-wit than the person who wrote that comment. I'm waiting to hear that you are ready and would like to take on the job and how successful you will be doing it. Open your eyes and at least make a better attempt to understand more than you think you know.

If a new manager comes in from outside, I bet you'll have even more to say about what you don't like. While the original post cautions again succession of any in the current leadship (which is mere spectulation at best), the general truth remains: be careful what you bitch about if you cannot directly make a difference.

Look for the good and build on it instead!
I'm willing to listen. Perhaps you can help identify some of the good that we can build on?

I'd be interested to hear why you came to LANL.

I agree with your corporate stance causing unhappiness comment. Having worked for an industrial government contractor for many years, I can tell you that there would be no qualms in laying off a quarter to half the LANL workforce in the outside world. I'm surprised that LANL hasn't started to do so already to be honest. Who knows, it may eventually come to pass.

I am no expert in organizational behavior, but it's hard to believe what's going on at LANL is not the beginning of a very major transition. Also hard to believe LANL will be as it was, regardless who becomes Director, no matter how many wish it to be so. I doubt anyone 5 years ago thought LANL would be here. Looking forward, where will it be 5 years from now?

On the other hand, one could argue the signs were there, even if only in small ways. For example, look at the history of the Employee Survey response to the question regarding whether employees thought that LANL's Management would respond to problems identified in the Survey. That score was basically a "No Confidence" vote in senior management for MANY years before Director Nanos was in place. Someone, or several people, made the decision to ignore it, probably still do, and now there is a lot of venting going on.

Having worked outside of LANL, I am very clear on the fact that what I do here is of minimal (or no) importance when you get right down to it (even with a PhD). I can be replaced quite easily. It is human nature to want to believe that what we do for a living is important or makes a difference. The reality of course, is that it just isn't so in most cases, but who wants to hear that?

For most, it will turn out that working at LANL was just a job that paid more and had better benefits than Walmart or Wendy's.
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