"What needs to be done to ensure openness and sound decision-making," the Emperor said, "boils to down to common courtesy. What I see that we need to focus on in NASA in terms of mending the culture -- to the extent that it needs to be mended -- are traits that we were taught at kindergarten: listen to what other people have to say; pay attention to their opinions; give them the respect of hearing them out and hearing them through and encouraging them to speak and making sure that all the viewpoints are heard."
"In a bit of tongue-in-cheek sort of way I've often defined management as the art of making decisions with less information than any fool would like to have. That is what we get paid to do. But in order to make decisions with less information than you would really like to have, it is at the very least important to hear all the information you can get," the Emperor said.
"...meetings that I’ve been in, leading up to Return to Flight, that there have been arguments, questioning, vigorous back-and-forth exchanges on technical matters. I think that is the right culture, and what is basically an engineering development and operations organization. As long as we can maintain that, we are on the road to recovery," the Emperor said.
"The job of the Office of Public Affairs, at every level in NASA, is to convey the work done at NASA to our stakeholders in an intelligible way," the Emperor wrote.
"Any candidate who contacts NASA and wants a briefing on what we are doing is entitled, and we are able to do that," the Emperor said.
"There's nothing more important to me in an agency like NASA than having an open, free, non-political discourse on topics," the Emperor said.
"I am, of course, speaking about ethical decision making in our professional lives, about creating a culture within which all can act and speak with openness and honesty, about embracing the responsibility for our statements and actions. Integrity matters enormously. I personally believe that without it, there is nothing else which does matter," the Emperor said.
"Long stated as one of the core values of our agency, it is nonetheless hard to define integrity in the abstract. It is much easier to recognize it when we see it. It is a quality not well suited to self-assessment, a quality for which we are more easily judged by others than by ourselves. I’m sure that each of you has observed acts of notable integrity, as well as cases where people fell well short of expectations. We should examine the differences, make note of what integrity 'looks like' in practice, and strive for it."
"In engineering practice, integrity is speaking up in a meeting when you do not believe the facts match the conclusions being reached, or that certain facts are being ignored. Integrity is following the data. Integrity is refusing to fall in love with your own analysis, admitting that you are wrong when presented with new data that should alter your earlier view. Integrity is keeping a promise or commitment or, when circumstances change, explaining why an agreement cannot be kept. Integrity is walking into your boss’s office, closing the door, and speaking with frankness, openness, and honesty – and listening the same way. Integrity is being willing to put your badge on the boss’s desk when you believe that an ethical breach warrants such drastic action."
"That then leaves the question of objectivity, which of course is exactly the point of comments about “stifling dissent” or “unfairly skewed” analysis. Such accusations are deeply troubling because, in the end, they are accusations that we lack integrity. They chip away at the foundation of the high-integrity organization we strive to build at NASA. The efficacy of our team is predicated upon our ability to “follow the data”, to communicate constructively the differences of technical opinion throughout the organization. Accusations to the contrary, such as those in the mainstream media or as found on many web postings, reverberate as echoes of lessons not learned from the Challenger and Columbia tragedies."
"So – differences of engineering opinion are cited as evidence of lying, of malfeasance? This is not how any of us were taught to conduct an engineering discussion. Quite frankly, it is demeaning to the profession."
“... I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood,” the Snow Princess said. “If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar,” The Emperor replied. “Because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood."