Thursday, October 20, 2005


Doug, with respect to the incipient thread on the alternative (and therefore correct...) interpretation of the checkpoint survey, could you post (anonymously) a link to this web page?

It's one of the most insightful views of morale and an R&D organization that I've ever read. When my wife, whom I asked to read it as a reality check, got to the parts on "Managerial Actions that May Inhibit Employee Need Satisfaction" and "Why Are We Not Motivating and Leading our Scientific Staff More Effectively," she durn near cried -- as did I when I read it the first time. Do you recognize anything here?


Here is the Survey section the author closes his presentation with. See if there are any items we are missing from Lab management in the first list, and if there are any items from the second that are horrifyingly familiar:


I would like to end my presentation by giving you the results of a short survey of scientists I conducted to determine the characteristics or actions of the best R&D manager they ever had who brought out the best in them. They reported that their "best manager":

* had trust and confidence in their ability;
* provided positive feedback;
* was a good planner and used a consensus approach;
* allowed them autonomy in determining their research approach;
* would accept criticism without reprisal;
* was tough, demanding and fair;
* slow to anger, but when angry remained controlled and focused;
* acknowledged and rewarded accomplishments;
* facilitated networking;
* encouraged risk-taking and creativity;
* was honest and approachable (e.g., "walked the talk");
* had a positive attitude toward their own career and their organization;
* was a good mentor, setting high standards;
* could make decisive decisions when necessary;
* supported the team to senior management;
* reinforced the importance of their work; and
was a good two-way communicator.

In contrast, the scientists described the worst R&D manager they had experienced in the following terms:

* dismisses input from subordinates as irrelevant;
* inflexible, doesn’t listen to others and has a "my way or the highway" attitude;
* micro-manages minutia;
* shows disrespect and talks down to others;
* lets you think things are all right, when they are not;
* poor communicator; does not keep group up-to-date on decisions;
* no "backbone"; did not support them to senior management;
* has zero tolerance for mistakes, quick to fire people;
* is unethical/dishonest and puts themselves first;
* indecisive, and lacks interpersonal skills;
* side steps dealing directly with problems by establishing a committee to study them;
* never finishes anything before moving on to the "next new thing";
* bluffs when he/she doesn’t know the answer to a question, and then makes the questioner feel stupid by saying that the questioner should know the answer; and
* puts his/her own projects on a higher priority for resources.


Are there any comments on this from the UC/Bechtel and LockMart/UT bid teams?
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
I think the correct term for that last post is "blogorrhea."
You're right, Boland.
Now, as I said earlier, "Are there any comments on this from the UC/Bechtel and LockMart/UT bid teams?" -Or from serious readers of the blog?
An interesting article I found
in researching why there seems to be little interest in studying engineering. A quick USA today read.

The article is titled: Are you proud of your job?

Some excerpts:

Occupations with the most prestige
Scientist 52%
Doctor 52%
Firefighter 48%
Teacher 48%
Military officer 47%
Nurse 44%
Police officer 40%
Priest/minister/clergy 32%
Member of Congress 31%
Engineer 29%
Athlete 21%
Architect 20%
Business executive 19%
Lawyer 17%
Entertainer 16%
Union leader 16%
Actor 16%
Banker 15%
Journalist 14%
Accountant 10%
Stockbroker 10%
Real estate broker/agent 5%

"An unscientific online survey of 865 physicians by The Doctors, a medical-liability insurance carrier, found that 70% would not encourage their children to become doctors, an about-face from when their parents all but herded them into medical school. Since 1977, Harris says, the prestige the public assigns to medical doctors has slipped from 61% to 52%, and the nation may face a shortage of 85,000 to 200,000 doctors in 15 years."

"Scientists still have the highest prestige of any profession. Even so, it has fallen 14 percentage points since the first survey in 1977, and likely more since the 1969 moon landing. Scientists often have lonely, isolated jobs, but those with the most satisfaction tend to be working on something with a potential to make a difference, such as a drug for cancer, or something that helps solve the energy crisis, says Curt Carlson, CEO of SRI International, a non-profit that employs 2,000 scientists and researchers and is known as the birthplace of the computer mouse."
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