Taylor-Nelson LLC has authored the seven principles of trusted, effective, imbedded labor management collaboration.

The seven principles are based on learning from the fields of Employee Relations, Organization Development, Industrial Psychology, Human Potential, Emotional Intelligence and advanced notions of Leadership. They are:

Equality means that the parties come to the process as equal partners; they attempt to achieve a level playing field when directing the course of the organization, solving problems and making decisions in win-win fashion. This means that the parties accept full responsibility for decisions that are made versus blaming management or others for decisions. Equality is achieved through an equal numbers of representatives, ground rules, mutual skill development, a Charter that runs parallel to the labor contract, and a third party neutral facilitator who assures that the parties use skill rather than power in solving problems and making decisions. Equality requires a substantial training commitment so that the business literacy of employees and the labor literacy of managers is raised so that everyone’s decision making and problem solving skills are equal and continuously improving.

Integration means that the work of the win-win labor-management steering and link-pin committees are driven into all corners of the organization; that every employee experiences the benefits, responsibility and accountability for sharing in the organization’s outcomes. It further means that management is just as concerned about employee and union security as the labor organization is concerned about the organization’s competitiveness and success.

Empowerment means that all important decisions impacting the work place are made by consensus. Consensus is not unanimity, but rather an affirmation that everyone will support the decision as if it was their own, even if they had preferred another outcome. In the more traditional sense, empowerment also means that everyone in the organization is encouraged to make choices that improve organization effectiveness; choices that support the values that have been mutually constructed.

Representation means that everyone in the organization has both the opportunity and responsibility to be heard. Representatives assure that there are speedy and accurate communications, that decisions will be supported by the employees and that the energy of the work force is directed toward the results and outcomes needed to make the organization competitive. This means the members who participate in this process must learn diplomacy and statesmanship-like skills to fully engage in crucial conversations and build support for consensus-based decisions. Knowledge, problem solving skill, dialogue and persuasion replace power or position as the dominant factor in deciding what must be done.

Stewardship is about making choices of service over self interest. The needs of the organization and the union will have priority over personal or territorial needs. The parties become stewards of the customers as well, seeking to learn and involve the customers in strategically planning optimal futures.

Wholeness is the notion that there are not reserved places of privilege nor sacred cows. Employees have long been asked to participate but given limits as to how far and as to how much their participation is allowed. Rather than start with limits we start with a blank page. If something must be put on the “no consensus” page such as legal mandates or disciplinary actions the parties discuss and agree then how their input will be provided.

Self Design acknowledges that each organization is a unique organization and that the parties need to build a structure for employee involvement that reflects that uniqueness. Provided the other six principles are not violated the parties work to build a parallel organization that addresses all the communication, accountability, values and performance outcomes the current organization structure provides, only better.

Taylor-Nelson LLC helps the parties design and implement the partnership. They help them create a structure, charter, parallel organization and link pins. They provide all the needed team building, system design assistance, training, coaching and facilitation. They teach and model conflict management skills, decision making, problem solving, interest-based negotiation (win-win), planning, work redesign, change management, coaching, constituent communication, meeting effectiveness and other skills suggested by the United States Department of Labor. They recommend and help implement other changes and improvements to organization systems, such as the performance management system, the human resource system, the bargaining relationship, etc., that will further the labor management partnership.