TIS THE SEASON for me to both reflect and anticipate. That’s what we do as the year comes to an end. We think about what was and what will be. There are no hard and fast rules in holiday reflection. The end of one year and the start of another, along with the holiday time off and gatherings, seems to naturally inspire us to reflect.
Grand Rapids Metrology had a very good 2017. We grew the business at an astounding rate compared to our peers. We made some tremendous new staff additions. We also made some major team changes through attrition which have offered us opportunities to add targeted staffing additions more suited to our mission and values. We increased the scope of products and services we provided to our customers which allowed us to work with customers we previously had not served.
First and foremost, we thank our employees who are the finest group of measurement professionals ever found at one company. They work hard and long and strive to be better each day. They understand and live our values at home and at work.
Also, we thank our vendors who support us with products, training and research. Our main suppliers have been with us for multi-decades and several generations. That is a tribute to them and to us.
Finally, we thank our customers, without whom, everything is irrelevant. We thank them for their loyalty, appreciation and their receptiveness to our ideas and solutions.
We dedicated much of 2017 to the exploration and reinforcement of our corporate values. We know adherence to our values makes us better. They define what we want to be, how we want to act and how we want to be perceived. So, I’d be remiss if, in reflecting on 2017, I did not cover the issue of sexual harassment and, more importantly, opportunities in the workplace.
At GRM, we were somewhat ahead of the curve on this issue. We had discussions at all our locations in August and September, before the Weinstein and numerous other allegations came to light. I think fathers of daughters (like me) are more cognizant of this issue. As men, I think we all have witnessed discrimination and harassment. We either turned the other way, considered it done in humor, decided it was not our business, participated in covering it up or diminished it to avoid conflict. I have seen it. I challenge any man reading this to deny that he has witnessed it as well. I am happy and relieved that it is now out in the open. It’s one of the gifts 2017 has given us.
Power and the misuse thereof by bad, immoral people is the culprit. Power granted by money, title, influence, size or strength in the hands of a bad person leads to oppression of those with less power.
Everything we do requires a thought process. For instance, when pulling up to a stop sign, we go through the mental process of recognizing the risk of not stopping at the sign. If we did not do this, chaos and harm would reign.
What I can’t figure out is how the thought process of someone who is about to commit sexual harassment. When they have a button installed under their desk to lock their door from the inside — when does that sound like a good idea? When they make a sexually provocative statement to an employee or sends a sexually suggestive gift — what are their thoughts? When they demand sexual favors to advance a someone’s career — how can they possibly believe it is a good thing for either of them long term? When they send sexual pictures of themselves to a co-worker — really? Is there a thought process even involved? Do these people have an inability to evaluate consequences?
Throughout history, my beloved legal profession has done so much to keep the issue of sexual harassment hidden. Accusations were handled “quietly” and payoffs were made which required all parties to be “silent” in the accusations, the truth thereof and the amount paid. How does that solve a systemic problem in our society? How does that create accountability for one’s actions and words? Serial harassers have left a parade of victims who were paid off for their silence while the career of the perpetrators thrived.
So, thank you 2017! The allegations of Weinstein and many other harassers freed accusers to come forward. For reasons difficult to explain, we have turned a corner on this issue. Sexual harassment and discrimination are finally acceptable dinner topics. Society has decided that fear of power will no longer keep victims in the shadows.
2018 should mark a new beginning for fairness in the workplace!
I do have a fear. The weaponization of accusations scares me tremendously. False charges are made constantly, particularly (go figure) in the political arena. 2018 is an election year. I hope my fears are unfounded. Every accused has to have some form of due process. Let’s never forget this.
In 2018, at GRM, we will continue to focus on our values and mission. We will continue to hire and promote based on values. We will continue our dialogue of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
I will personally go one step further. Last month, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids. I will work tirelessly to see that every person, regardless of their sex, race, religion, ethnic background, sexual preference, etc., has opportunities to thrive and succeed as I have had throughout my life.
To all of you individually, if you see or hear something that does not look or sound right, report it. If you see or hear it, stop it. If it happens in your home or in the store, intervene. If good people stand by and allow evil to occur, evil will win the day as it did for decades in the treatment of women in the workplace. Don’t allow evil to be present where you live or work.
Marisa and I wish all of you the happiest and safest holiday seasons. We wish good health and prosperity to all the GRM families, customers and vendors. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Thanks for all you do for Grand Rapids Metrology!