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Freedom in the workplace

This is the week our nation celebrates freedom.
How are freedom and democracy faring in the workplace?

Freedom brings choices
Energized productive workplaces are those where the culture exemplifies freedom by
Empowering workers to design the projects and find the solutions
Expecting continuous learning to increase knowledge and skills
Encouraging civil discourse
Insisting on effective and open communications
Demanding ethics which allow trust to reign

Freedom brings responsibility
To be involved, to participate
To release the old thinking and look for new ways
To take risks, knowing you could fail but learn from experience
To be open to changing your mind with more information or when circumstances change
To be civil and develop esprit de corps
To become an effective leader where you see the need

Engines of Democracy
That’s the title of a September 1999 article about “the General Electric plant in Durham, North Carolina that builds some of the world's most powerful jet engines. But the plant's real power lies in the lessons that it teaches about the future of work and about workplace democracy.” I don’t know if the culture has changed, but here’s a current job posting on the Internet which suggests it continues to be a democratic workplace.
Assembly & Test Technician, GE, Aviation, Durham, NC
* Assemble jet engines.
* Coach, guide and train other team members and function in a team-based environment.
* Work from complex product drawings.
* Set-up operates, adjust and troubleshoot all tools and equipment.
* Perform inspections required for the quality plan.

* A high school diploma or GED.
* FAA issued Powerplant license is required.
* Excellent oral and written communication skills.
* Ability to work in a team environment.
* Ability to learn new tasks and become multi-skilled.
* Willingness to work flexible hours/shifts.
* Ability to teach and coach others.
* Ability to make and accept responsibility for decisions.
* Willingness to work in multiple roles with varied responsibilities.

Successful candidate should be able to:
* Work well with and appreciate differences in others and their ideas.
* Function in multiple roles and in different types of situations.
* Behave in an honest, fair, trustworthy and compliant manner in all activities and relationships.
* Accept responsibility for and learn from consequences of own actions and decisions.
* Work diligently and be persistent in performing all tasks while encouraging and motivating others to reach given objectives.

From the 1999 article which is quite long but very interesting, “At a place where the morale is high and the performance is extraordinary, something is going on that is often overlooked in an economy obsessed with fringe benefits, gratuitous flattery, and today’s closing stock price. At GE/Durham, the work itself is the thing. The techs at GE/Durham have challenging jobs that matter, they have a degree of control over their work that is almost unprecedented, they adhere to demanding performance standards, they receive the training and support that they need to do the best work they can—and, as a result, they do just that.”