Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Should LANL adopt Google's motto and try to live by it?

From Anonymous:

I would prefer to post this anonymously lest I be accused of being a pie-in-the-sky idiot. Nevertheless, I think it is a good idea.
I just received my latest issue of Fast Company, a magazine devoted to improving business management. This month there is an article on Google, probably the fastest growing company in the US. In the description of Google and its way of conducting business is the company's motto. "Don't be evil." I would suggest that this motto might be a good way for LANL to leave its past behind and move into a new, better future. Of course everyone, including management would have to buy into it. For info about the motto see: . Unfortunately, the article is not on line but the magazine does have a website at:
Should LANL adopt Google's motto and try to live by it?

Good post. Thanks. I found one statement in the article particularly compelling. "When confronted with the truth, they were willing to change." - Scott
You'd have to get rid of a lot of people, and not all of them mamagers.
Also enjoyable, except for the fact that it's so damned true, is the HR article:

Why We Hate HR

For example:

The human-resources trade long ago proved itself, at best, a necessary evil -- and at worst, a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity, and impedes constructive change.

At which end of that spectrum would you say LANL's HR lies?


Why are annual performance appraisals so time-consuming -- and so routinely useless? Why is HR so often a henchman for the chief financial officer, finding ever-more ingenious ways to cut benefits and hack at payroll? Why do its communications -- when we can understand them at all -- so often flout reality? Why are so many people processes duplicative and wasteful, creating a forest of paperwork for every minor transaction? And why does HR insist on sameness as a proxy for equity?

Sad to think that our HR situation isn't unusual.
HR is nothing but a roadblock and I've yet to see a benefits person who knows squat. How can it take MONTHS to fill one position?
How about LANL: The Real Story bloggers adopting the Google motto?

"Don't do evil"

But maybe that is just a good idea for others.
The 7/28/2005 09:01:00 AM poster sounds like Gary to me, if so, you accept the motto as well.
The article in Fast Company talks about how Google selects it employees. The interview process is extremely rigorous, candidates are often interviewed more than 12 times. This is how Google guarantees they get the right employees for the job.
Gary has more balls than most. At least he can sign his own name (unlike me)
Agreed. Everyone who calls Gary a sycophant should sit back and realize that he doesn't profit from saying what he thinks- Kuckuck couldn't promote him even if he deserved it (it would look too much like a reward), he's made no friends and plenty of enemies (most of whom he's probably never met), and he has a legacy as a Nanos-lover (deserved or not) that's going to follow him for the rest of his career. I don't see the upside. Give the guy a break.
Gary is a brown-noser!
I endorse 09:01's comment.

But it doesn't seem that most here intend harm, although some clearly do. To the extent we can understand what is really harmful in this free-for-all, where the stakes are so high, good will be served and evil will be set back.

Having the hope of accomplishing good is sufficient reward for many people. I recognize that seems corny to some, unless you consider what motivates many contributors here.

to Scott- Google's ability to change is not reflected in our environment. We do not have their latitude. in many dimensions
Good to see you back, and welcome.

Don't pay attention to the hate-filled people throwing insults - you can't please them, and lowering yourself to their level doesn't become you.

God and the NNSA willing - when we are working for Lockheed - we can have a cup of coffee and talk about the future.
Gary- Perhaps we should change our attitude about latitude. Certainly our present environment needs change - in many dimensions. I hardly expect Los Alamos to be run like a However,to succeed, employees must be empowered to achieve the collective performance level the American taxpayer rightly expects of a National Laboratory. Sadly, I don't see UC promoting any such thing. Their historic response function is glacial compared to Google and sloth-like compared to Lock Mart. I'll stand by my original post, "when confronted with trugh, they [should be] willing to change".
- Scott
sorry, "truth", not "trugh" -SW
I wonder if it would be possible to get a simple majority of LANL people to agree on a single motto. For the folks in IM, a simple majority would be anything over 50%
I think that a groundswell of popular support at LANL for integrity in business practices-folks wearing pins or ribbons-is possible. If that is not a top down directed activity there might even be benefit in it.

Pete said that he asked all managers to commit to zero-tolerance of retaliation, quote: “we have put all managers through retaliation training and have zero tolerance for retaliation against employees.”

Some here will laugh, not comprehending that most managers here are personally committed to making LANL a fine place to work. Some also do not understand that much of perceived retaliation results from personal expectations falling short of reality, vice someone taking an active step to thwart a person’s desires. If you do not believe that check your personal conflicts with loved ones- how often the issue was unreal expectation-not malicious intent.

However, the issue of change at LANL--what is possible and desirable- is heavily influenced by NNSA, more than by the contractor. They have a pretty good grip on the steering wheel. There is a LOT of inertia there.

Having said that, a really engaged contractor, who understands how things are wired and who puts in place a top-notch team (something worthy of a $2.2B enterprise) could do a lot. That point, to the discerning reader, is not about a desire to do a good job, but understanding that you have to actually find and pay for one-in-a-million managers and staff with the experience, ability, and understanding to do the good job that is needed.
Gary Sez:

"Some here will laugh, not comprehending that most managers here are personally committed to making LANL a fine place to work."

Thanks, Gary. We sure are glad to have you around, what with your ability to comprehed the quality of LANL management, and all.

Keep of the good work; us lesser (in the comprehension sense) mortals have come to rely not only on your abilities to comprehend, but in the modest way in which your share your comprehensions with us.
No, I do not mean to elevate myself. Most people have the basic understanding I mentioned. They understand (comprehend) that most people come to work to accomplish good, not just management. It is only a few who go thru life believing that they have a corner on integrity, good will, fair play. Those vent angrily at circumstances that do not go their way and assume it is because of malfeasance, ill will, conspiracy, incompetence, etc. on the part of those who have influence in the situation. Anonymous blogs, tenement halls, subways, tend to be a magnet for their expressions of rage. In fact it is rarely the case. So excuse me if I pointed out the obvious unnecessarily.
Gary- you are too nice to the idiots that flame you. Thanks for keeping this civil. The trogs and the violent insurgents among us will fail.
Thanks for your kind remark.
Most people are persuadable to do good. Making clear cogent arguments is the best tool for persuasion.

Knee-jerk flames in response to insults are usually a error. It really is like wrestling with a pig: you get muddy and the pig enjoys it (an old saying).

The absence of thoughtful and well-founded responses to persuasive positive arguments here is a ringing indictment of both the process and the content of this blog--something that cannot escape either the participants or the observers.

Just because people don't agree with you does not make their responses thoughtless. Quite the opposite, actually.

I suppose you cannot realize how egotistical you sound, and that is to your discredit.
Take three minutes and give me a list of thoughtful responses that contain something more than "Get with the program--we are all angry LANL bashers here".

I do want to credit a few thoughtful responses, but the stats are in the few percent level.

To date there have been nearly 10,000 comments, and over 2,000 post submissions to the blog. Having read each and every one of them as I received them, I assess most of them to have been thoughtful. You are, of course, welcome to dismiss most of the input to the blog as thoughtless, if you wish, but I suspect you know better. Myself, I don't feel responsible for attempting to convince you; your mind is clearly made up. I will point out one last time, however, that your repeated attempts to discredit the blog tend to have the opposite effect.

First of all, (generously assuming you are not willfully misunderstanding my statement) I was speaking of responses to my interventions. In that limited case, there have been only a disappointingly few thoughtful responses. I do not just count those that I agree with. I also do not mean to denigrate those thoughtful comments to the news stories that make up most marquee items on your blog.

However, give your mathematical background I am surprised to read: “I assess most (blog comments) to have been thoughtful.” Most is greater than 50%. I would say that many more than “most” comments on this blog (by number not length) are frivolous comments offered without much thought and are of little or negative value. There are also some thoughtful comments that are, regretfully, of significant negative effect.

My opinion that more than most of the comments here originate from a modest sized group of regulars (some not LANL people) has also not changed—but not because I am not paying attention. If you required signed posts, even with pseudonyms, that fact would be immediately obvious. However, the personalities of the bloggers are fairly consistent. If you claim credit for representing some large disgruntled community, without some substantiation, I think you overstate you influence. Some are eager to believe LANL is in mutiny, but I do not think so.
Don't worry Gary, we've pretty well got you pegged. It is your intent to attempt to discredit the blog. You have demonstrated this repeatedly over the preceding year by

1) claiming that there are maybe only 10-12 posters to the blog,
2) contending that the blog is invalid because it supports anonymous posting,
3) proclaiming that most (all) other contributors to the blog (all 10-12 of them?) are incapable of "comprehending" that LANL management is here to help us, and
4) that most contributors (again, all 10-12 of them?) are thoughtless.

However, no need to worry. Unlike the LANL NewsBulletin, you (being one of the 10-12 contributors to the blog) are free (note that I did not say "welcome") but free to continue to try to impose your own peculiar views on the rest of us (yes, those same 10-12 contributors to the blog). I say this because as Doug has repeatedly demonstrated, the blog is available to all who wish to express their points of view regarding the problems at LANL.

Even your views.
Nicely put, 1:26. Gary has been pigeon-holed. Pegged. Categorized. Marginalized.

Go ahead, Gary, spew some more of your own peculiar style of venom. You and Baghdad Bob were made for each other.
Are 1:26 and 6:03 the same person trying to make his point seem credible by reinforcing his narrow view? Or is this the view of 20% of the blog regulars?

"Don't be evil".

That sounds like a mission statement for a 10-year old.
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