Friday, April 01, 2005

A Nanos supporter

From Anonymous:


Please post this. It appeared as a response to a comment in another post in the blog where someone was complaining about having been branded as "a Nanos supporter".

"The fact is that anything Nanos says or has said in the past is now tainted by his legacy of horrible mismanagement of LANL. He has lost all credibility; in those rare cases that something he said in the past had any validity at all, it just doesn't matter now. He is despised, reviled, mistrusted, and disliked at LANL. Suporters of any of his policies had better be aware of that."

The constant war between the "good guys" and the bad guys.
But, who are the good guys?
With all due respect, this blog does not speak for LANL. It speaks for those who have chosen to post here, and there is no numerical indication that their numbers are overwhelming.
Continuing with all due respect, there is no numerical indication that the numbers are underwhelming, either.
The people who post here seem to not see that they have also lost a lot of credibility. A lot of the posts to the outsider (or someone who has not been at the lab for more than 4 years) come across as pie in the sky dreams about how the world should really be or how 'evil' Nanos is. I have heard people compare him to Kim Jung Il, Hitler, or Stalin with those despots coming out on the bright side.

The problem with hyperbole about how horrible things iare that it too soon becomes fact in people's minds. I remember one of these how bad Nanos is linking him the Cerro Grande fire with him there with the matches.

Nanos is an average manager put over a group of people who loathe his management style. If he had been a good or great manager, he would have been able to win over or at least gotten the respect the people who hated him for being a navy guy on his first day. If he had been a bad or horrible manager, he would have caused a mass exodus last summer.. the yet to materialized mass exodus here is as much about the loss of UC pension plans as his work.

I have been through bad or horrible managers. Being called a butthead is small potatoes to some of things that CEO's can get away with these days. [I will not post the long epithats due to the children using this blog for research, that were regular course for a couple of midwestern and southern companies I was affiliated as a subcontractor with.] I have seen 40% of the company leave during the equivalent of a shutdown at a couple of textile and chemical companies... with most of the people taking lower paying jobs. I have colleagues who talk about their Universities president as the bear who walks the halls and will berate anyone who disagrees with him. I am not saying that any of this is 'acceptable' but it has become too common to not avoid.

Heck a lot of the complaints I heard back in 1994 about how Sig was the cause of the Tiger Team, RIF, and was a berating bad mouthing leader who only hired sycophants.. [these same people say Sig would be a great replacement for Nanos... yeah he was all that but he has a PhD and didnt wear a uniform.]

People who post here may be well traveled about the world, but they dont seem to have really lived outside of LANL for 25-36 years. The world and this country have changed and it still is not a pleasant place. LANLites have been shielded greatly by distance and a powerful senator... but the shields are going away and its going to be a very painful next 10 years. We can whine and whine about it, but that doesnt do anything to fix or adapt to the problem.
1:05 PM Sez:

"Nanos is an average manager put over a group of people who loathe his management style."

Been here for twenty years and through 5 Directors, and I'm here to tell you that Nanos is a horrible manager with a loathsome style.

There is nothing average about his abilities to manage Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory; he is pitifully under-qualified to run this place.

Sorry, whoever you are, but you are dead wrong on this one. I suggest you go spend a little bit more time in that real world out there. Your perspective is way off on what the differences between good, average, and bad management represents.
Re 2:19
IMHO, you should practice what your preach.
20 years and 5 directors doesn't make you an expert on identifying talent.
Keep in mind that the longer people live and work in a close-minded community, the more tainted their perceptions become.
3:57 -

Good point. Actually, I do get out in the real world fairly frequently as a consultant.

Landing a contract, working for a real-world company, producing product that satisfies, delivering on time (no shutdowns in the real world), getting paid at market value... Doesn't get much more real than that.
I cannot believe that anyone who cares to know reality can conclude that George Nanos has the support of anyone other than a small cadre of hangers-on whose jobs are contingent on his staying on as director.

I have been around many men and women who were great leaders and poor managers or who were great managers but poor leaders. I have found that being average in both allows one to survive. Being great in both is extremely rare but contrary to some opinions not all who excel in both qualities are in pursuit of wealth and fame.

One studies both management and leadership by observation and by reading what others have written about them. Interestingly, great managers, for example Jack Welch, write about themselves and their philosophies whereas great leaders seldom ever write autobiographies. They provide guidance by example. For example, George Washington, Mother Teresa, George Patton, and Robert E. Lee did not write autobiographies. Evidence suggests that leaders are products of birth as modified by earlier childhood experiences. Managers are a product of training modified by a realization that success depends on treating people with respect. Having spent the last two years analyzing George Nanos as a manager and leader leaves me absolutely certain that anyone would be stretching the truth to call him anything but a failed manager and a failed leader.

Instead what one sees are the remnants of a spoiled child, probably an only child, who wormed his way through a life of privilege by bullying others or encouraging clients (this blog would call them sycophants) to bully for him. People with this background have a tendency toward tantrums and abuse. They also blame others for their own imperfections and failures. By his behaviors, one would surmise that Director Nanos likely had problems with alcohol as a youth, problems that probably extended into adulthood. I have no basis for this conclusion except observation but people with this history become very contrite and apologetic as a defense mechanism without actually being either contrite or apologetic. "I'll never do it again" amidst sobs and tears is an often heard and unfortunately often repeated response.

This brief synopsis describes the Director Nanos that I have seen in action. I wish it were not so but he has nearly destroyed this great institution's ability to advance science and perform its national security mission, besmirched its decades-long record of public service for this Nation, and abused the dedicated employees who work here by using them as puns to protect himself, his agendas, and his cronies. These attributes are a matter of record and they are not the characteristics that great leaders and effective managers would aspire to imitate.
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