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GE Workout

Revitalizing Aitkin!

Aitkin County Workout Workshop
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What is Workout?

Welcome to a new era of innovation and efficiency at Aitkin County! At the heart of our revitalization is an approach called the GE Workout, a proven problem-solving tool that fosters the spirit of collaboration and speedy decision-making. As an employee in HHS recently said, GE Workout is not just about doing more with less—it's about working smarter, not harder.

So, what exactly is the GE Workout? Originally developed by General Electric in the late 1980s, the GE Workout is a method for eliminating bureaucratic red tape and improving efficiency. It's all about bringing people together, regardless of their position, and empowering them to identify problems, develop solutions, and make decisions.


So, how can the GE Workout benefit Aitkin County?

  1. Speed Up Decision-Making: Traditional bureaucratic processes can often slow down decision-making, but with the GE Workout, solutions to problems are developed and agreed upon within the session itself. This makes our government more responsive to community needs.

  2. Empower Employees: By giving all members of the team, regardless of their rank, the opportunity to contribute ideas and solutions, we're not just solving problems—we're building a culture of empowerment, trust, and innovation.

  3. Improve Efficiency: By focusing on cutting through red tape and finding better ways to do things, we can deliver services to our community faster and more effectively. This could mean less time spent on paperwork and more time addressing the needs of our community.

  4. Boost Collaboration: The GE Workout encourages cross-functional collaboration. By working together in this way, we'll foster better relationships and understanding across different departments, leading to more cohesive, holistic solutions to challenges.

  5. Enhance Transparency: With the GE Workout's rapid, problem-solving approach, we aim to make our operations more transparent. Our community will see firsthand how we're committed to continual improvement.

In a nutshell, Workout is a practical, tried-and-tested way of shaking up the status quo and driving meaningful change. By adopting this methodology, Aitkin is demonstrating its commitment to its vision and mission which value efficient, responsive, and innovative use of resources.

How does it work?

In its simplest form, the GE Workout process starts with a cross-functional team of employees who come together for a "workout" session. These are intensive meetings where teams identify and tackle specific challenges that Aitkin County faces.

These could be anything from speeding up the permit application process to optimizing resources for public works. In these workout sessions, all ideas are encouraged and valued, and the focus is on breaking down barriers and thinking outside the box. Here are some hypothetical examples of areas where Workout could potentially benefit Aitkin County:

  1. Permitting Process: Streamlining the process of obtaining permits for construction, business operations, special events, etc., by removing bureaucratic hurdles and making the process more efficient and user-friendly.

  2. Public Safety Response: Improving response times and effectiveness of emergency services such as fire, police, and medical assistance, and ensuring optimal deployment of resources.

  3. Road Maintenance: Optimizing the process of road repair and maintenance, potentially through better scheduling, coordination, and allocation of resources.

  4. Public Health Services: Enhancing delivery of health services, like immunization programs or public health education campaigns, to ensure they reach the widest possible audience in the most efficient way.

  5. Waste Management: Increasing efficiency in waste and recycling collection and processing. This could involve route optimization, scheduling improvements, or waste reduction strategies.

  6. Library Services: Streamlining processes in public libraries to improve user experience, such as book check-outs, digital material access, and community programs.

  7. Public Transportation: Enhancing the public transportation system by improving routes, reducing wait times, or increasing accessibility.

  8. Tax Collection: Streamlining the tax collection process to make it easier for citizens to pay their taxes and for the government to track and collect payments.

  9. Social Services: Optimizing the delivery of social services like food assistance, housing support, or child welfare programs. This could involve improving application processes, case management, or service delivery.

  10. Parks and Recreation: Upgrading the management of public parks, recreation centers, and community programs to make them more accessible, better maintained, and more responsive to community needs.


There are a few things you should keep in mind if you are invited to participate. Embracing the Workout process can be a powerful catalyst for change in county government, but it requires active participation from all employees involved. Here are some tips for county employees who have been selected to participate:

  • Adopt an Open Mindset: Workout requires you to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. Be open to new ideas and perspectives, and don't let ""we've always done it this way"" stand in the way of potential improvements.

  • Be Prepared: Come to the session having thought deeply about the problem at hand. Bring data, examples, and ideas. The more prepared you are, the more productive the session will be.

  • Speak Up: Every participant's voice is important. Don't hesitate to share your ideas, no matter how big or small they may seem. The Workout process thrives on diverse perspectives and ideas.

  • Listen Actively: As much as it's important to voice your ideas, it's equally important to listen to others. Be respectful of others' views and seek to understand their perspectives. You may find that their insights spark new ideas.

  • Collaborate: Remember that you're part of a team working toward a common goal. Value the contributions of others, build on each other's ideas, and work together to develop solutions.

  • Stay Focused: Keep the end goal in mind. Discussions can sometimes veer off-track. Help keep the session focused on the problem at hand and the actionable solutions you're there to develop.

  • Be Patient: It may take time to see the results of your Workout session. Changes may not happen overnight, but your contributions are an important part of the process.

  • Embrace Change: The Workout process is designed to drive change, which can be challenging. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow, and to help your organization do the same.

  • Remember, the goal of each Workout is not only to solve the problem at hand but also to empower employees and foster a culture of efficiency, collaboration, and innovation. By embracing the process, you're contributing to a more efficient and effective county government.

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