Thursday, September 14, 2006

Don't Speak

A few months ago an article appeared in the internal IT newsletter about employees being afraid to speak up. The conclusion was that people challenge things less out of fear, and that it leads to bad practices, like not calling BS on a deadline that can't be hit. I was surprised and impressed to see it published. JJ (the guy who runs IT) acknowledged that this needs to be fixed.

Interesting that neither the author of the article, nor JJ, nor Paul seem to understand why this happened or how to fix it. I think they're looking at the employee base and wondering why we have changed. The answer is simple: it ain't us, it's you.

About 1/2 the current IT population came from the old eBusiness group (eBG). Questioning management in eBG was actively discouraged. Staff members who challenged the VP's decisions were moved out of staff. eBG was also marketing driven, and managed largely via spin. My favorite example when we received "the first" CMMi Level 3 certification at Intel. A conversation with my manager, a sycophant, went like this:

Syco: We are the first group to hit CMMi Level 3.
Me: But we're not at Level 3.
Syco: Well, one team hit Level 3.
Me: You can't get to level 3 in isolation.
Syco: This is a strategic program for Intel.
Me: We're not at Level 3 yet.
Syco: It's strategic.

Across eBG the trust required for constructive confrontation to thrive was broken. eBG managers role modeled and valued conformation, not confrontation. We don't question things any longer because we were told not to. There's a simple fix: Sr. Management needs to acknowledge that this happened, and that it was wrong.

The trust was broken. People won't start speaking up until it's fixed.


Anonymous said...

You are right. Sometime, the CMMi is just paper work.

Anonymous said...

Meh. I liked the original version of the post better :)

Anonymous said...

Hea. As a fellow Intel IT person, I encourage you to continue writing.

More so than any other part of this process that has really ticked me off was the email we got from JJ saying basically : "Well, thanks for hanging in there; you'll be notified in a few weeks if you loose your job or not. And oh, by the way - you all have the AR to write a personal assessment of yourself and turn it in to your manager."

Ya, we should be writing personal assessments; not on our selves but on our "trusted leaders."

Intel IT Guy said...

Thanks for the comments. I didn't realize that I had to approve them before they would appear, which is why they haven't been visible. Sorry about that.

Yeah, having to do a self-assesment in this environment seems harsh. At least we didn't got through mid-year.

The was a post and some discussion about focal on The Unofficial Intel Blog, so I won't address it here unless I can add something new.

Intel IT Guy said...

Regarding the original version, I liked it better too. I edited this post heavily after seeing how long it was when I published it. I'm trying to keep eash post to ~1 page to avoid a lot of scrolling, and to minimize my pontificating. If I stil had the original I'd be happy to re-post it. But thanks for the comment - it confirms my feelings about the original. Tell you what, from now on quality will dictate, not an unvalidated length requirement.