Comments on: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog? The EPA Blog Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:15:11 +0000 hourly 1 By: dog sitting Tue, 25 Jan 2011 21:26:21 +0000 Ha! I love dog sitting….

By: Ido J Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:30:05 +0000 Oh, this is so true.
When I moderate a meeting (should say manage a meeting) I declare the exact time allocated to this meeting – the EXACT time.. we finish the meeting on time. this forces the participants to be sharp and to the point.

By: year of the dog Tue, 16 Nov 2010 17:24:09 +0000 That’s good that you are making such smashing knowledge just about this good topic. And we think that should be very good if people order the thesis abstract or buy dissertation from you.:)…

By: JR Thu, 31 Jul 2008 20:14:23 +0000 I always understood that old Ben was rather well liked by the ladies of Paris, which I find odd since at the time he was a 70 year-old in a coonskin cap.

I never had the pleasure of taking any Anthropology classes while at Penn (I was stuck in the bowels of the Towne Building) but your point resonates with me since I have scientists of so many varied disciplines working for me. And thanks for the image of a green pie…yuck.

By: Jon Tue, 29 Jul 2008 04:02:33 +0000 My favorite anthropology professor at the University of Pennsylvania years ago, David B. Stout… insisted that scientists are culture bound by their own culture—unable to fluently interact with, or even fully understand, other cultures.

I heard when Ben Franklin went to France, none of the ladies would dance with him, so befuddled was he. They would say, “Now Ben, I would like you to dance with me, but you can’t even fluently interact with, or even fully understand my culture!!”

At that point, he thoroughly regretted ever publishing his findings on lightning to the Royal Academy. And he promptly burned his copy of Newton’s Optics in his Franklin Stove.

By: Noha Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:22:22 +0000 Larry,
Your post covers so many different issues!!!
– Scientists’ communication skills;
– Spending too much time at meetings discussing trivial things;
– Stove-piped organizations that don’t communicate their activities let alone collaborate to achieve mutual goals;
– Policy integration?

It seems to me that the main point of your post is that before we start developing a website that pools together information about what various offices and programs are doing on a specific environmental issue, we should be thinking about how we in fact integrate these activities to achieve increased program efficiencies and positive environmental results. Or if that thinking is actually taking place, it needs to be communicated widely across the Agency, so you don’t get a group of scientists sitting in a room wondering how to structure web content without any sense of direction. IMHO, this points to the need for stronger science-based program planning and integration AND involving all employees in the process or at least effectively communicating it to them.
And with all due respect to Prof. Stout, there are scientists out there who have very strong communication skills. It’s not a forgone conclusion that scientist=lack of communication skills! But we definitely can do a better job of developing and honing the communication skills of all EPA scientists. So far the paradigm has been, you scientists do the work and the public affairs folks will take care of the communication. As you can see, that approach isn’t working!

By: Marcus Sun, 27 Jul 2008 14:39:43 +0000 I had a former boss who would occasionally stop such discussions and declare, “We are now discussing what the color of the Yearbook should be. That’s important, but we could spend the rest of the day arguing about this. We’re going to take three more minutes to get everyone’s recommendation and then I’m going to make a decision and then we are going to stop talking about it and move on.” Seemed to be a good way to get more dog, less tail.