Friday, March 11, 2005

Pete’s lack of communication insures that he never will hear about the problems in the first place

From Anonymous:

This post started with a simple question, “could I write something here and sign my name? And what are the implications of doing this?” To get to the point, the answer is no. Why is worth some comment.

I agree with Brad’s [Holian] assertion that we should be discussing the future of the Lab. It is vital right now, and it is something that should be a continual dialog. I’ve posted to the blog before on this matter and I’m proud of what I wrote, I’d love to sign my name, so why not?

In a nutshell it would be too dangerous to my family. They depend on me, and the current Lab leadership has demonstrated that they will destroy people who get in their way. I am not in a position where I can afford to cause them harm for the cause of the Lab. I’m sure that my position on this matter says something about the present situation and myself.

If I did sign my name, it would be a temporary boon to my reputation with my peers. Nanos is hated and his departure would be seen as a reason to celebrate among those I associate with. If I said something positive, I would be the object of ridicule and lose the respect of my peers. That says volumes about the current state of affairs as well. I’m sure this situation is repeated all over the Lab. If someone is comfortable with speaking positively about Nanos, it speaks volumes about both the person and their circumstances.

I’ll close with some observations about our leadership past and present. I sat down eye-to-eye with John Browne while he was Director and spoke about a serious management issue, the competence and behavior of people in leadership positions. Years earlier I had a heated e-mail exchange with John when he was an AD, I was a lowly staff member in his directorate. In both cases, I communicated with John without fear or reservation. Pete Nanos does not engender the same level of trust and openness. Anytime I’ve either seen or heard about someone raising an issue with Pete they have their head handed to them (“sit down and shutup!”). I’m fairly certain that John did little to deal with the matter I discussed, but at least he was open to listening and I trusted him enough to relate the problem to him. John’s ineffective management was a problem; Pete’s lack of communication insures that he never will hear about the problems in the first place.

What is worse? You be the judge. Maybe the best way to state the questions is (apologies to Ronald Reagan)

“is LANL better off now, than it was two years ago?”

Hear hear! John Browne listened --or pretended to listen -- it doesn't matter: you would feel you've been heard.

When Pete first came on board, he came to talk to our division and was immediately drawn into a heated discussion about "matrix management" by a staff member universally considered clueless. Pete dealt with the staff member with a good combination of strenghth and humor, and we were impressed. How were we to know that Pete would later lose the humor as he became more confident -- and arrogant?

I've heard Pete speak of John Browne with such disdain. John Browne may not have been effective (a combination of his personality and all the problems he inherited), but John Browne was a class act. John Browne would never have called his staff names.

BTW, it was John Browne who initiated the "code of ethics" that Pete put his signatures on. The code of ethics lacks the clarity and forcefulness that one associated with Pete, showing to me that Pete really couldn't care less about it.
John Browne also deserves much of the credit for the NISC Building, the NSC (aka the new admin building), the Metropolis Building, the "best-of-class" safety record, the improved security profile on the Pajarito Corridor, the preservation of remote technical areas such as TA-33, and a work environment where people were appreciated and acknowledged. Nanos has brought us cost overruns, stand downs, unfilled potholes (that has been progress on this front), abusive and strident language, and, as his diatribes against his predecessors show, a warped view of history and an exaggerated view of his own worth and abilities.

John, we miss you!
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