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Kirt Blattenberger
 Post subject: Memo Faux Pas
Posted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 878
Location: Erie, PA

While reading an article on risk management in the December 2006 edition of IEEE's Spectrum magazine, I was reminded of a similar incident that happened to me about three years ago. In the article, author Carl Selinger wrote about making a decision to copy the company directors on an internal memo even though he knew it was not supposed to be done, and ended up being rewarded for it. He invoked the old maxim, "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

In my scenario, I had just finished a big presentation on our company’s successful ESD ruggedness improvement program. For those of you not familiar with ESD protection on ICs, there has been a lot of work done for silicon and a lot of published material is available for it, but 3-4 years ago there was almost nothing public on ESD protection for GaAs devices. Most GaAs products had no ESD protection at all, and failures at 50 V HBM (Human Body Model) were common across the industry. Now, we routinely do at least 1 kV HBM and 150 V MM (Machine Model), and most products achieve 2 kV HBM and 200 V MM. But I digress.

So, after the meeting, I was instructed by my manager to distribute my PowerPoint presentation (over 100 slides) to a list of names she provided along with an instruction to “copy the directors.” I dutifully wrote up an e-mail, attached the presentation, and specified the listed To... names. For the Cc... recipients, I went to Outlook’s “All Groups” list and selected “Directors.” A deft click of the Send button sent the note on its way into cyberspace. Within minutes, my manager came over to my cube and told me that the "directors” she intended were department directors, i.e., Director of Quality, Director of Production, Engineering Services, Design Engineering, etc. The Directors that I sent the e-mail to were members of our Board of Directors. Of course the BoD is made up mostly of investors and other non-company employees (highly successful, big $$$ folks). I promptly sent out a note of apology for disturbing them.

To my great relief, I received many responses from Board members thanking me for sending the information along with comments regarding how glad they were to receive news of how successful we had been on the project. Almost all encouraged me to keep them in the loop by sending them updates. I could start breathing again. I never have sent out another e-mail to the Board of Directors since then, but it demonstrated once again that unintended consequences can have good as well as bad results, and that even people that make more in one hour than I make in a year are “real” too.

p.s. Let me state for the record that I think some of the concepts outlined in the Spectrum article are a little too touchy-feely for me, but maybe fooling yourself into doing something you might not otherwise do (for your own good) is what some people need to succeed. I put that stuff in the same category as people who need to set the alarm clock ahead in order to get up on time.

- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

 Post subject:
Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:02 pm
Posts: 436
Location: Germany
Greetings Kirt,

Sometimes one do things which were not meant to or thought of and these turned out to be good; sometimes the other way around, and in this case the saying ''the way to hell is paved with good intentions'' applies!


Best regards,

- IR

Posted  11/12/2012
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